I am not new to web design. about 4 years. I think I'll try something new, and go ahead with the flash. your right - as long as it doesn't slow the website down or create confusion, then it should be used.
My opinion is that Flash should only be used if it serves a purpose. i.e. using flash for rollover nav buttons doesn't really server a purpose... however to design your entire site in Flash to demonstrate your artistic ability on a web design site does serve a purpose.
I like SWISH as it's very easy to create a flash like design equivalent but only use it if the clients insisted on it, otherwise there's more and easier to create animations using other routes that I used to meet a client's needs.
Problem with SWiSH and similar for text effects is that it is becoming much easier to spot them and they can look pretty similar... I'm not knocking SWiSH just a lot of people just use the default options.