Holy smokes. I frogged the hat and reknitted. And did it again. I ripped the whole hat and started again with different (more cooperative) yarn and lifelines every four rows.
Today, finished with row 12, I looked carefully at what I had: A cable twisting the wrong way back on row 10. And one overlooked wrong-way twist back on row 1!
After almost a week of knitting on that blasted pattern, I had four decent rows of ribbing...and nothing else right.
I frogged it and neatly rewound the yarn (yay, ballwinder). I got out some sport weight yarn and a totally different hat pattern (k2/p2 around and around to infinity). I've got two inches of ribbing done--and done right.
I'll get more cable practice later, preferably on something with sane cables. I think I might make Fetching, which has two kinds of cable stitches (not four) and looks sensible. There's a cable vest I want to make (from the same book as the accursed hat), but it's rated "easy" (rather than the hat's rating of "intermediate") and has the same C4B and C4F that Fetching has. If I can survive Fetching, I'll have some encouragement to attempt the vest.