I don’t know why I keep beating my head against this wall... my initial experiences with iCal were comprehensively gruesome, but I took another whack at it, only to get what I deserved.
I noticed that Palm desktop can export vCard format, and iCal claims to import it. Fine... let’s give it a try. iCal sure enough read the vCard files (I have my complete calendars back to mid-1996) and loaded each and every event into this week of June 30, 2003. Which produced a remarkably layered and colorful display in an abstract-art kind of way. I get the impression that iCal is Apple’s Vietnam War.