We go back and forth about this every year Scot, so I won't dispute your own experiences. However, I've been told to mulch by substantial number of very experienced growers, some of whom have even harsher conditions than your own. I would take your opinion on mulching with more weight if I'd seen an account of how you mulched when you lost your plants; as it stands the only details I've seen are your how-to threads, and no explanations of how you did things before then. I strongly believe, based on your own testimonials, that you may have overlooked something in your previous mulching attempts; there is no conceptual reason why it shouldn't work.
Even in the coldest climes of the continental US (excluding high mountains I suppose,) the earth does not freeze below a shallow upper layer of the topsoil. If you go down about four feet, it never strays far from 60F. You should easily be able to keep your plants above freezing if you dig a foot-deep depression and cover it with mulch, a tarp, and a second layer of mulch (or snow for that matter) to hold it in place. Cleverly engineered homes in Alaska manage to store and reuse ambient heat so that virtually no additional heating is required; keeping some lumps of dirt above freezing shouldn't be that difficult.
I understand you lived in an apartment and had to use a porch, and that makes things different. But you can still use the thermal load of your home to prevent freezing if you're clever about it; a well-sealed tarp/cold frame against a wall (or even better, a low-insulation surface like a sliding glass door) will serve to keep average temperatures above ambient if the exposed surfaces are mulched or otherwise insulated. Bubble wrap works wonders in this application. In any case, simply putting a lump of bark on top of a lone pot on a drafty second-story deck is not really what growers are referring to when they talk about mulching.
The fridge method is a viable technique - I don't dispute it. But there are other ways. Can we agree to that? All I'm saying is that there are other options, and for some growers, they are easier and more reliable. Your mileage may vary.
This is nothing against you personally, or your instructions. When I was starting out I read your fridge method threads, and they're very useful; I refer people specifically to your info when they want details on it. But the fact that you report failures with mulching doesn't lead me to believe that you have any definitive knowledge on that technique. If you want to learn how to do something, you go learn from those that can and have done it - not somebody who tells you it doesn't work.