Damn, that was hard. Android Studio 2.1.2 is really a bitch to tame. I had not used AS for a while, so when I opened it I needed to upgrade, which I did. That is when the pain started. If you are using an older phone than Android v21 Lollipop then you will need add a lower version of gradle 2.10 to work.
The different versions of Android require different versions of gradle. Upgrade your android version and your gradle version will correspond. Upgrade Android Studio and you support and older version of Android spells trouble.
After hitting so many brick walls with Eclipse and Android development I finally gave in and installed Android Studio. No, I do not like being forced by Google to change development environments, but as Google seems to no longer support Eclipse, it was too difficult for me to handle Eclipse, Ubuntu, Android, as well as the lack of support by Google for Eclipse in their developer.Android.com site. There were too many variables that, as a newby, I got stuck too many times.