First of all, thanks for the attention to the shifted-keys unmappable bit.
Second of all, not to keep harping on it, but if it helps, here's more diagnosis on the accented-characters-appearing funny bit. It seems that setting encoding=whatever doesn't do the right Carbon things that make it switch its font-display encodings. In other words, no matter what you do, it's stuck in its Mac OS Roman stuff. (it it makes anyone feel better IE 5 appears to have the same issue).
Maybe there's more detail at: http://developer.apple.com/techpubs/macos8/TextIntlSvcs/TextEncodingConversionManager/TEC1.5/index.html
Anyway, this might be one of those "so, tell me something i DON'T know cases" but i figured either i send this email or i continue to try and a figure this out (thus not doing real work)