Honestly it all makes sense after doing some reading of the arrl book and other sources - I think I finally have a good grasp of the difference and their effects...
I do agree though not having followup on the concepts and cross referencing with some materials, the academic discussion here would have been some what mute and would typically frightened most into make a decision one way or the other without practical information. I feel my decision was based on fact rather then misunderstanding.... Im a Software Engineer / Architect by trade so I particularly like academic discussions with followup good application experience and practice.
A vertical has lower gain because of Brewster effect in the Fresnel region and near far-field area.
(Not my words and simply paraphrasing) Tom is a smart fellow, but he likes to make academic arguments to make "points", which even while valid, will probably confuse you and prolong learning what you really want to know.