"The only 'middle button' I can think of is the one on my mouse and it doesn't do anything when I click it over a link."
Well if you've changed it's function, no wonder. You made it sound like an issue!
Look guys - you surf how you like - I was only pointing out another way. If you want to have blank tabs - have 'em.
Personally it seems like a redundant step to me - my new tabs appear automatically when I invoke what I want to happen in them. Hey-ho, each to their own.
All sounds a bit like the old "program-centric" way of working, when you invoke a program then choose what you want to do - rather than the "data-centric" way where you choose what data you want, and the appropriate program opens.
I have to say, children, children stop throwing your rattles out of your prams lol. Who cares if you have an open blank tab or use the middle button?? Is the world goign to end? Maybe thats what caused the credit crunch?
Like has been said everyone is different, for example I have a widescreen monitor and I prefer my toll bar up the side, it drives anyone who use's my PC mad but it is the way i prefer it now.