Yup, I'm a little preoccupied with administrative concerns these days, what with our recent forced-march relocation and all. Be patient with me.
Thank you for all the nice comments. To answer Jernej, the point of having an introduction page is that new people coming to the site for the first time don't know that the top post of the blog isn't indicative of the contents of the site as a whole. It's fine for the regular crowd if the top posting is about kudzu-eating goats or the Chicago Bears, but it misleads chance visitors.
I'm reminded of a time we had a problem with the cover of Photo Techniques. I'd chosen a photographer who was basically out of our league, and talked him into letting us use one of his existing pictures. But he wanted a spurious detail retouched out of the picture I chose. Well, those were the early days of both digital pre-production and Photoshop, so we had to send it to New York for retouching. The films came back to our Graphics Department very late—and about 3/4ths of an inch too small in both dimensions.
Rather than abort, I decided on a workaround–we just ran a half-inch red border all the way around the cover. Kind of arbitrary, but it looked okay.
Well, we probably got a dozen letters about our "new look"! Some people liked the red border, some people thought it looked too much like TIME magazine, some cautioned us that maybe it worked for that cover but it wasn't going to work for every cover. But pretty much everybody assumed that it was a) deliberate and b) permanent. One guy even called it "the start of something big"! Er—no.
People have a tendency to assign too much weight to recency. In some ways this makes sense—nobody remembers that both Rush Limbaugh and Ronald Reagan were originally Democrats, and they're probably right not to—it's probably not pertinent. But I think when people happen across a blog for the first time—especially a free-ranging one like mine—they tend to read a post or two and assume they know what it's all about. The introduction page simply combats that kind of misimpression.
Besides, there's really no such thing as a "home page" on a site like this, since both sidebars with all the navigation tabs are visible on every page. So if you want to go right to the blog, the solution is simply to bookmark the blog page and ignore the welcome page. Right?
And in answer to the numerous people who are hurting my brain with the suggestion that I go with WordPress instead of TypePad (you have no idea how hard it's been for me to get this far with TypePad—I'm as thick as a brick)—well, I still have 11 days left on my TypePad free trial, so now's the time. I'm going to buckle down and mock up the entire website in WordPress. Not saying I'll switch, but now that we have our very own domain, it's trivial to point the domain name to a different site without discombobulating anybody.
And you know why I have to? Matt Mullenweg of WordPress is both a photographer and a jazz fan. (The thing that impresses me most about his blog? He met Joe Lovano on a plane.) Ya just gotta give a guy like that a chance.