update: Boudewijn Rempt pointed out that the problem i had below was solvable by selecting the View -> Slide Master menu entry. apparently that text is on the slide master and you can only edit master slide elements from the master slide. makes sense, but it's a bit obtuse that there are items you can see but not edit? anyways:
i have a habit of running the devel version of koffice, and i also use kpresenter for pretty much all my presentation slides. this sometimes leads to funny occurances, but usually things go without a hitch.
currently, kpresenter has some oddnesses about it. one of which is that you can't actually select and edit the text at the bottom of the included "kde 3" template. so i thought to myself, "self, this is just a zipped document with a bunch of xml lurking inside, unzip it and fix it by hand!" now, the better approach would've been to fix kpresenter but i lack the time at the moment, so ... hacks it was!
i unzipped the files and there it was exploded and laying on the slab: mimetype, maindoc.xml, documentinfo.xml and pictures/. what to do now? well, i looked in maindoc.xml and rapidly decided that instead of trying to fix it, i'd just delete the offending object.
i zipped it back up and went into kspread to go back to editing. when i brought up the open file dialog there was maindoc.xml, which i hadn't yet deleted. and then i remember, or thought i remembered, reading about the ability for koffice apps to work on the unzipped files which makes for nice revision control possibilities. so, with great excitement (i'm easily excited by such things) i opened up maindoc.xml and lo! there was the document. i editted it, saved it, went back to my konsole session, re-zipped it up, opened the newly zipp'd .kpr file and lo! my changes were there.
ok, it's a small thing perhaps. but it made me smile.