Edit: Unfortunately, the images originally included in this post are gone, because of hosting problems in late 2009. My apologies.
pytmenu is unconventional, but I can’t deny that it works, and has potential.
That’s with Arch64, by the way, although it will probably (certainly?) work in other distros too.
Basically this is a common applications list, thrown up on the screen as a transparency, with applications triggered when you hit return. Ideally it needs xcompmgr running to enjoy the effect; without it, you get a flat grey screen with text over top. Openbox users should be able to cue this with keyboard bindings quite easily.
Right now you have to manually edit the script to change the program list and it’s not hooked to the Debian menu or the common apps directory. I don’t see a way to tint the transparency effect either. But I’m sure when uzusan gets some more feedback, some more commonplace features will appear.