I don’t know how it happened, but the Ubuntu 10.10 image and partitions I had on the Beagleboard got corrupted somehow. This used to work flawlessly. The little micro-SD card has been sitting in the slot of the board for about 9 months without being used. I wonder if static from the cables still attached to Beagleboard caused corruption. I booted and got all kinds of I/O errors.
I am now putting an Ubuntu 11.04 netbook image on anothe SD card and will try that. Perhaps during non-use, I should pull the flash cards out!