> In the meantime, again I'm new to this -- I got pg_stats; which rows are 
>   the relevent ones?

The ones for columns that are mentioned in the problem query.
I don't think you need to worry about columns used only in the SELECT
output list, but anything used in WHERE, GROUP BY, etc is interesting.

> Also, I am running postgresql-server-7.4.9 from FreeBSD port (with 
> optimized CFLAGS turned on during compiling)
> OS: FreeBSD 5.4 p8

The hardware environment (particularly disks/filesystems) is relevant

                        regards, tom lane

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