No, you can't. It's random -- usually a few basic tools (wood or sometimes stone), a few pieces of wood, some sticks, etc. Actually, I've always thought that the chest itself and the four torches around it are at least as useful (and sometimes more) than the contents.
I've had a few times when I couldn't find it. Either I just didn't look in the right place, or something about the terrain (it was uber-extreme hills) kept it from spawning at all.
By the way, one other reason Comic Sans is not good, besides the usual: on the iPod Touch, it comes up as some nearly unreadable script font. I had to get on the PC to find out what you'd actually said.
You can not with out a plug-in, but you can go into gamemode and place stuff into it.
As he said you can gamemode or world edit but you cannot chose what is in the starter chest without using world edit or going into gamemode maybe in the future minecraft will add customize-able starter chest.