Just as I predicted...

Performance on my iMac 2010 (v. 3.1, I believe) with Lion 10.7.4 installed was getting worse. I am very rigorous when it comes to backing up. So, Time Machine was functional and running and 2 external daisy-chained 1 TB and 2 TB drive is where I use CCC to clone a bootable Partition, in an incremental fashion.

I knew it was done, when I performed a Disk utility check, it told me that DU could not repair the volume (3 partitions), backup your data yada yada.

Well, I thought to myself, I will use the Recovery HD to boot. Pressed on Option key at startup, performed other key combos, *impossible* to boot from the HD partition. The disk is toast, stupid.

So, in the end, I was up and running, took a while though. The iMac couldn't see the bootable OS on the external drive, so I booted with an older SL disk I had lying around. After determining the startup disk (only after plugging and unplugging the external FW 800 drive a few time-flaky FW, as usual) and booted into my backup.

As for time machine, waste of time. It wouldn't even see the backups on the external FW drive.

So Apple offers 2 methods to restore and/or repair. None of them worked.

Do not trust your data with Apple. If I didn't have the SL DVD, I would be SOL.

What a bunch of tools at Apple!