Wow... Google's mad dash to make everything "more streamlined" seems to be a rush towards ugly. I'm not sure what made them think that cold starkness was streamlined.
Depressing, though. I had other things I was thinking about -- but having Blogger change along with Gmail [what an unsurprise!] is exceedingly depressing.
It does make me see why folks get into Wordpress. Maybe they can make the interface less repellent. I don't know.