1. I'm using HERO for my second blog but I can't change it to look anything like the picture. For example, how do I get 'call outs'
We have a support article covering the customization tips for Hero: http://theme.wordpress.com/themes/hero/
In order to use promotions callouts, you'll need to create some posts and then tag them with tags that you'll later choose in the Customizer (under Appearance > Themes > Customize). The article I referenced above provides more details about this and other customization options for Hero. And you can always contact us and ask questions -- we'll be glad to help! :)
2. I've read your notes on the difference between .org and .com and I'm less informed than I was when I started - could you tell me in 10 english words what the difference is?
There are few differences, that's why we try to list them all. Sorry it's confusing at first, but this question comes up a lot, so everyone needs some time to absorb this information in the beginning.
If you are not sure what the differences are, I recommend that you start with WordPress.com, without any upgrades necessarily, just use it as your training wheels. Post content, mess with options, ask questions, check out the support docs, ask more questions. Managing your own WordPress(.org) installation will be more technical, and here at WordPress.com we take care of upgrading to newest versions, backups, and many extra features for you, and we are happy to provide support.