Thanks, guys.. I will look for the JB Weld and/or some kind of epoxy when I next come to the US. Glad to know a similar trick worked for ronin and I can possibly get a few more years out of the thing.
It's definitely rubber, probably designed to have some amortizing effect (on what I'm not sure.. maybe in the case of a hard piece of food sticking on the blade?). It's just lost its elasticity.
Since it's broken already I don't have much to lose. It's just sad to throw out a second and third perfectly good item (motor/housing, etc.) for the lack of this one vital element. I wouldn't be so attached to it if I hadn't bought a modern version that is a mere shadow.
Annoying: topheavy, futzy cover plate between the motor and canister (3rd piece to wash), doesn't chop as well. The cover plate has funny little protruding transparent Lexan clips that in the course of sporadic use over 9 months have all broken off (into the food; found three first - bit into the fourth). Oy! The other designs I checked out seemed even worse, with a bigger footprint, things you have to twist and lock, etc.
Old one: throw stuff in and push down. Why mess with a good design? If the rubber thing were replaceable my old one would last a lifetime. (Oops! Answered my own question!
limpid lizard.. you should open a real shop! $50/hour (or $40, or $30) ain't bad for having fun.