I think you guys are right about "I know my 20d" and he doesn't really know the mileage on that one.. that was a pretty nice point. After looking back and reading.. The XS or any DSLR for that matter would be a good start (in the price range) in the end there all pretty much going to do the same thing | take a picture. Good luck and have fun with what ever one you decide to get.
(I was being a little biased on the whole rebel series.. don't get me wrong its a wonderful line of cameras, and I would say a XS+1855 combo is a nice starting set up)