Tweaking my html homepage

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In my html homepage, i use lot of external elements such as joke of the
day, word of the day and other advertising banners. If any of the
external websites do not work( the joke of the day website or the
advertising company's website) my website displays a blank page for 2
minutes and then displays the the rest of my website. This only happens
in internet explorer(not in firefox)

1.How do i prevent this from happening. Is there a way to write a
statement that says skip the external elements if they do not load in
few seconds.
2. Is there a way that i can tell internet explorer the order in which
it has to load the different parts of the site.
3. is there a way to make internet explorer work like firefox for my
website visitors( firefox loads comppnent by component, internet
explorer loads all the components in the background and displays all of
them at once)

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