The 119th Carnival of the Vanities is up at The Radical Centrist. First of all, I love the blog name, and it would have been an excellent name for this blog but I went with “Classical Values” because I’m a sort of political dropout “loser” type — only in the center by a process of elimination as opposed to genuine political belief in something called “The Center.” Disgust with ideology and “isms” (especially disgust with joining) places me so far off the map that to call myself a “centrist” — even a radical one — seems a stretch. But I’m glad to see the name’s taken, because someone needs to be in the center, and it sure is a radical idea these days. The best way to be hated is to simply think what you think, and to not be swayed by personal entreaties, tears, threats, ridicule, ad hominem attacks, or opportunistic labeling. A perfect example can be found in this Culture War post at Bird’s Eye View (another blog by The Radical Centrist) — involving “Intelligent Design.” Very thoughtful, fair, and sure to infuriate both sides — especially those who live to “win” debates.
Anyway, he does a great job with the Carnival’s many excellent posts. Here are a few which stood out:

  • La Shawn Barber seeks “intelligent comments from liberal readers.” (I’m tempted to mutter something about the folly of expecting miracles, La Shawn, but I won’t, so strike this mutterance.)
  • Amibivablog has some philosophical advice that really stood out: “denial can be a necessary part of resolve.” (Now, if I could just internalize that, I’d be a long way towards accepting my resolve without the stress.)
  • CodeBlueBlog has the inside scoop on the Botox malpractice scandal.
  • Dee Marie at Taken in Hand dares to question chastity as

    ….the very last thing I would recommend to someone who is seeking to find a compatible mate. Within marriage, one essential area of compatibility is sexual compatibility.

    I’d have to agree that sexual compatibility is vital — unless you’re seeking a sexless marriage.

  • HOT TIP! Graham Lester is offering coal in exchange for gold. It’s too late for a Christmas stocking stuffer — but hurry!
  • RIGHT WINGNUTHOUSE remembers Washington’s crossing with a good essay. (I was there on Christmas Eve, but didn’t attend the annual reenactment.)
  • Mighty multiblogger John Ray offers a best of collection of his own posts. If you’re as much a fan of his many blogs as I am, this one’s a must-read.
  • Ian Hamet has a charming film review of a Hong Kong love story — the sort of thing I’d have to be dragged to see. Except he made me want to see the thing:

    if you?re a cynic, fare thee well, because this movie is not for you.
    If you?re an insufferable romantic like me, then you are now merely 25 minutes into the movie and completely hooked.

    But cynicism is the insufferable romantic’s denial mechanism, Ian! (Now where’s my “region free DVD player?”)

  • One of my favorites, Darleen Click, has a poignantly sad post about losing a beloved family pet — a delightful cat named “Feathers.” This is truly the worst part of having a dog or a cat, and something I’m hoping to put off struggling with but can’t. They are every bit members of the family. My sincerest sympathies.
  • To end on a more cheerful note, just in the nick of time, you can still get your New Year’s jokes here!
  • Read ’em all!