thanx for your time
well, i did uninstall and then reinstalled GIMP b/c i thought there was a stable update but it wasn't at all stable and so i un/reinstalled GIMP so maybe that's what happened ... ??
file association?? erg. this topic drives me nuts and is one of which i should read more about & hadn't considered as a cause so thank you for that suggestion.
but still ... i do think gremlins are the most logical and reasonable cause