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Per my other post, I fixed it. No more crash on an empty stack at least. Just skipping over the empty stack didn't break things like I thought it would. Sometimes the simplest solution eludes me for awhile.
Getting frustrated with my googling, so I'll just ask real people in plain English:
What are the good Android rooting tools that exist out there and are the most likely to work with some older Android tablets?
I'm not trying to replace the entire OS with something like LineageOS or CyanogenMod prior to that...I just want root access so I can delete pre-bundled packages that I do NOT need and can't remove without root access...Facebook, games, etc are totaling a few GBs worth of space and I've never even launched any of them.
The other thing is that I don't really want this whole exercise to be a weekend project (over time, I've probably already burned through a few weekends with whole-OS replacements). If I have to fiddle with configuration files and install Android SDKs on my system, the whole thing is going out the window...
well morning people are usually considered healthy,
... particularly when compared to those that attend funerals far too early. (i.e. days, weeks, years)
after many otherwise intelligent sounding suggestions that achieved nothing the nice folks at Technet said the only solution was to low level format my hard disk then reinstall my signature. Sadly, this still didn't fix the issue!