Ed, you bring up a good point on the lack of AEL and indeed the workaround as you mentioned:
"6. The lack of AE Lock is irritating for an old school guy like myself....... although a half-press of shutter button will lock exposure reading..... and simultaneously locks focus. A workaround would be to use the EV +/- button located at the 6 o' clock position and instantly dial down/up exposure levels .... while using the histogram and LCD itself to manually gauge how the exposure is rendering a given scene"
will work, and in a certain way train users to think more about exposure. But also leceh in a way cus its so much easier to spot meter, lock and recompose.
Have you tried if when using C-AF, when you half press on a subject, does it lock the meter at that point or will the meter also vary since its in C-AF mode? That's another possible way to get around the lack of AEL, though also has a limitation cus you can't lock focus. Alternatively go manual focus all the way : P