Along with a launcher, you may consider following the concepts that are mentioned in the linked video. Admittedly it is for the arduino ide and is being explained on Ubuntu, but, the concept is the same for other software and other distros.
Given the lack of USB boot, I would imagine your system is too old for UEFI. There are two possibilities that I can imagine. Your bodhi ISO file is somewhat corrupt. You can check the MD5sum to see if you downloaded all the bits/bytes correctly from the source. The other is as has been mentioned a bad burn of the ISO.
My $0.005 (My lack of knowledge keeps my opinion from being worth the typical 2 cents.). Keep the other kernel for a backup. It is a handful of MB in size. If you don't have the spare space on your system for the other kernel, I would imagine you are in need of more storage space anyway.
If you are a youtube kinda guy, you can realize the base of bodhi is ubuntu and search for some of your issues/questions with ubuntu instead of bodhi. The main difference between the two ignoring the lack of installed apps is the Desktop Environment known as moksha.
The major linux distros have repositories for software. They are probably comparable to app stores. When you search synaptic for games, you will see a whole list of packages. Some of those packages are the game engine and some are the data package required to actually skin the game as well as audio files etc. The packages, if made properly, will also make sure that all of the extra programs/files/libraries are installed at the same time. You will be notified of everything that will be installed as well as how much space will be required to install everything. There are packages in the wild that are not in the repos. If you absolutely need them and you trust the site you are downloading them from, you can install them from the command line. I bet there is a GUI. I just can't think of one at the moment.
As a noob you might consider watching some youtube videos.
Like Jeff said, you could simply install moksha and before you log in to your system select moksha instead of whichever desktop environment you are currently using. When you finally log in, you will have access to all of your installed applications. I run moksha on an Arch install thanks to Fusion109(?).
Lucky for you the thinkpad line does not currently seem to be of concern. The articles I have read all talk about something more akin to a Chromebook style computer. Also, one of the articles I read suggested that Microsoft made Lenovo sign an agreement on how the laptops in question would be locked down.