What I want, from top to bottom on my home page main column (not that I'll ever get it) is 1) when I made the last post (something that has disappeared entirely, way back when.) This gives me a heads-up when I've been neglecting my LJ. 2) the five most recent comments and a button for showing all comments. This lets alerts me to new comments that need answering (some days I have time only for answering comments.) 3) LJ announcements of importance only (i.e. not the self-congratulatory bits and mention of Frank.) Maintenance, planned downtime, explanations of unplanned downtime, logon changes--genuine admin type announcements. 4) spotlighted communities 5) all the other stuff, with all animations turned OFF. In fact, users should have the option of turning off Writers Block, LJ Gifts, etc. On the right column, I like the birthday reminders.
Simple, useful for me, uncluttered by stuff that hurts my eyes.
So...a headdesk for LJ for bragging about making it worse.