Got the replacement cable for my laptop via eBay today, got it installed, and the patient has survived the surgery.
I could have bought the cable outright for something like $10, but figured it was worth seeing if I couldn't win it via an auction -- which I did, getting it for $0.99. Shipping, either way, was pretty close to the same, so I saved 9/10 the price by being willing to wait a couple of days.
Mr. Laptop is a happy camper once again - his display is bright, regardless of what angle it's set at, he fires up into Linux just like he's supposed to, and even as I'm typing this he's getting a few program updates (which, by the way, are free for Linux, and don't require the system to be rebooted except in rare cases).
The USB port in the back has been soldered back into place, and supplemented with a little extra mechanical fastening to help keep it from coming loose again, too.
Life Is Good! :-)