I read with interest your comments regarding menus and color/contrast issues. There are probably at least two sides to each of these issues though:
There are some valid, practical reasons for keeping the menu the same for all the pages on a site, even though the menu item with a link to the page you're on may cause the occasional, unintended reload. For one thing, it saves time when you make a modification to the menu and just have to copy the same block of menu code to all pages.
I would agree that a site with a black background should either have the black extend all the way out, or have some other dark-colored background for the portions beyond the specified page width. Apart from that, though, the issues of readability, color choices, contrast, etc. is a whole science in itself, not to mention the personal views on 'what looks good'. I personally tend to like a site with black (or otherwise dark) background and white (or other light color) text, and have no problems reading it that way.
Again, John, I should emphasize that I'm not suggesting that you are 'wrong', only that there are a multitude of valid viewpoints on these issues!
You're right. Copying objects/code from one page to another is faster/easier if you keep the menus the same for all pages. That's the ONLY advantage. If a site is complete, and then you change the menus as I suggested, how much work is that?
About colors and readability and so on, yes, this is a question of taste too. I made a lot of sites with a black background myself, but all of them are more or less 'artsy', like photo exibitions or a site for a musician or a painter, those sites, where a black background makes the object (like a photo) stand out more. I said, it is 'common sense' for a business-orientated site or a site with a lot of text (maybe not a site for a tattoo shop:)) to have black text on a white background. This forum is an example.