You have to use some kind of go-between to get the video digitized before it can be put onto a DVD+/-R. For my purposes, this has been a video capture card on my computer. They quality is not so good with the setup that I have though - so you may want to hit some of the AV sites to see if there are particular combinations that work well together.
The current DMCA law forbids discussing illegal activities, of which copying DVDs is included. Please don't discuss this here. There are plenty of sites you can find on Google that will discuss this topic.
Willful ignorance of science is not commendable. Refusing to learn the difference between a credible source and a shill is criminally stupid.
I've been looking at a few DVD-R/VHS combo machines recently. They run about 200-300 bucks and are made especially for copying your VHS tapes to DVD. The Best Buy/Circuit City stores have been running weekly promos on 'em.
I prefer to keep my video stuff away from my computer, so these might be up my alley. I still run my computer and TV as independent components. I'm old fashioned, I know.
It may not be the usual click, but it still sounds like a dying drive. Maybe it's just one bad sector, but this is a point to take no chances. I wouldn't turn it back on until you have your backup/rescue option in hand.