Re: Not defending Excel but
"In point of fact, most spreadsheets make perfectly usable SMALL databases"
Indeed. This is primarily what I personally use spreadsheets for (I'm not a bean-counter, so they aren't much use to me in their primary role).
I know how to use a real DBMS -- I use a variety of them daily in my work, and use them personally at home. But for a lot of things, a spreadsheet is just as good and a whole lot more convenient. The right tool for the right job, and all that.