I am new with WordPress, but I think I can put my contribution to the hacks….
I am going to develop a small change in the code of WordPress.
Let imagine for each category an associated icon (a kind of what *Nuke calls Topics).
This will required an update of strcuture of the table wp_categories
Few new template functions will appear as the_category_icon()
I am going to work on it tonight so normaly it will be availble for download tomorrow morning (GMT+2)