Apologies for the delay. This has been "interesting." Things I learned:
1 - The XP Device Manager does NOT want anyone to mark several items to be uninstalled, and then reboot to complete the process. You get to pick one and only one item to uninstall, then reboot, and then if XP darn well feels like it, the ancient/useless/don't-even-own-it-anymore item will gone.
2 - The Realtek item I was trying to kill forever is evidently protected by a magic spell created by Bill Gates. I can mark it Uninstall and reboot (and/or cold start) until the cows come home, and that piece of junk will still be sitting there. My only option under Microsoft law is to mark it disabled. As if I'm going to come back some day and install a Realtek device. I'm talking about the company whose only claim to fame is to have manufactured the worst sound card I've ever had in the computer I use at work.
The good news is that as I uninstall (or disable) old/unused stuff, the computer restarts a lot faster. You've probably noticed I haven't said anything about the card reader. That's because all this has taken until almost midnight, so I have to wait until tomorrow to see what bizarre things happen when I try again to use the card reader. Stay tuned.