If you want a cool desktop, try out Yahoo! Widget Engine:
Hundreds of widgets to choose from, all free. I use the Yahoo mail checker, Yahoo weather, memory gauge, Folding_at_Home monitor, and digital clock (clock is set to be on top at all times).
Also check out ObjectDock:
I have no icons on my desktop. Anything I need an icon for (or a shortcut) I have in ObjectDock.
Another nifty little doodad is UberIcon:
UberIcon adds an animation when you double-click an icon or shortcut on your desktop. Nothing big, but it's small and cool. I used it just because I liked it. With no icons or shortcuts, I don't use it now.