Ah hah! The glass was half empty after all.
I went ahead and ordered a new Dell laptop. They're having a $500 off special this week, along with free shipping, and no interest for 90 days with Dell credit, and a $150 gift certificate. This required me to configure a fairly high end setup before they would kick in the $500 ($1,400 gets you $500 off). I found the $500 off coupon on a laptop review site.
Rather than buying a re-furbished solid business laptop that was only slightly better than my current dying model, for a hundred bucks more I got a screaming machine that should last for years. I think the only way to go with a computer is to buy (or build) them pretty close to state of the art, so it irked me that I wasn't finding something significantly better than what I have. This is significantly better:
Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T7500 (2.2GHz/800Mhz FSB/4MB cache)
Genuine Windows Vista® Ultimate Edition
High Resolution, glossy widescreen 15.4 inch display (1440x900)
Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100
2GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 at 667MHz
120GB SATA Hard Drive (7200RPM)
CD / DVD writer (DVD+/-RW Drive)
Intel® 3945 802.11a/g Mini-card
Built-in Bluetooth capability (2.0 EDR)
High Definition Audio 2.0
Here's a link to a cool Dell commercial featuring the various colors.