It often bothers me when Flash is being misused for small visual effects on home pages of websites. Not just that it slows things down, but it also usually breaks these websites terribly when I want to copy&paste stuff or when one doesn't have the Flash plugin installed.
Margarete, has recently bugged me quite a bit about making the front page of her website a bit more "visual". She started with an idea of adding some flash to her website, which I dismissed quickly.
The front page:
A small "visual" effect when one mouses over the "Blog" element:
I still plan to enhance the code a bit more to make it faster to load by decreasing the number of HTTP requests needed to load the asset files as well as size of the images, but I'm quite happy with what it looks and feels like already. Check out the live version at www.fgslovakia.com.
A good technical article describing a technique very similar to the one that I used can be found the A List Apart website.