Inexperienced user needs advice with layouts

I'm **thinking** that I want three levels of layouts: one level for the
application, one level for each controller, and a third for each action.

You want both a *layout* and a *view* for each action? I'm not sure that
makes much sense to me... why not just merge it all into the view?

As for having a layout per controller, you could have a single master
layout that contained a call such as:

render :partial => "layouts/#{@controller_name}"

or some such...