Some time ago, I wrote about using MT-Textile to format posts. Well, there's a new version out, and it's better than ever. There are a lot more options (including the ability to add a class or id to tags, a table formatting option, alignment of paragraphs, and lots more goodies. You can play with it here. I don't mind writing plain HTML, but Textile is a bit quicker, easier to read, and there's less danger of you forgetting to close tags.
It also works nicely with the also-newly-updated SmartyPants 1.4, which I used to use for a while, until I had a few problems with it. The little niggles all seem to be sorted out now, and it's working well. So now, you can feast your eyes on my proper typographical quotes. Somehow that sounds vaguely smutty.