Monday, February 26, 2007

Book Spines

Unsurprisingly I've spent the largest part of today in bed. Most of that time has been spent asleep but quite a bit has been vaguely staring at the ceiling or the wall or the bookshelves wondering when it's going to be time for the next painkillers. It's not an exciting way to spend the day but it keeps me out of trouble.

So anyway, I was staring at my bookshelf when I noticed something about the spines of the books. There are three different styles.

1. Large and/or interesting font for the book title, small subtle font for the author name. Examples of this include Chocolat by Joanne Harris, and Dilbert and the Way of the Weasel by Scott Adams.

2. The same size and possibly the same exact font for both title and author. Prime examples from my shelves include anything by Ian McEwan, and the individual books of the Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis.

3. Large and quite possibly shiny lettering for the author's name, with the title of the book seeming to be a bit of an afterthought. The major culprit here is the hardback of Next (or at least I hope that was the title, given the size of lettering one would be forgiven for thinking it was the publisher) by big, red, shiny Michael Crichton, although Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code (yes, I know, I know) makes a significant effort as well.

So I started wondering, is there any kind of system to figuring out the prominence ratio for authors and titles? There's none I can really work out from my own collection, past the fact that books by the same author published by the same publisher tend to be consistent in style. There's no similarity for different authors by the same publisher (except for Penguin Pound Classics which are pretty much a set in their own right) and it's annoying.

From the above you may draw your own conclusions about where exactly my head is at today. Sorry. This stuff has been bugging me all afternoon and evening and it needed to come out. Please add your own thoughts.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Happy Birthday To Steve

It was Steve's birthday on Friday and he came to visit for a few days. On top of the birthday thing, we also haven't seen each other for a few weeks and most likely won't see each other again for a bit, because he's currently studying for another bit of accreditation (so that he can apply for jobs paying £obscene) and fixing up his motorbike. If I'm actually physically present, which we tried briefly, then on the one hand he eats properly (because he wants to look after me and as that involves me eating one hot meal a day, it makes sense for him to eat one too, at the same time), but on the other hand he doesn't get much study done because he wants to spend time with me, talk to me, take me places and so on. I am a distraction. And lovely as it is to spend time together, it doesn't lead to any kind of technical qualification. So we are apart, and he is losing weight, which alarms me, but he's a grownup so it's up to him.

It was wonderful to see him though, even if it was rather less of him than I had hoped to see. Plus, for a couple of days (and with a couple of weeks to fall apart afterwards), I can push the boat out a bit - no long romantic walks, or parties at nightclubs, or adventure activity days, or anything like that, but I made sure we could Do Stuff for his birthday.

The day started well. I'd got him one soppy present, one present he knew I was getting him, and one geeky present he never imagined he was getting. He was extremely happy, especially with that last one.

We went to Southwold for the morning where we investigated the Under the Pier Show, which was just fantastic and bizarre, and then we went into the "town centre" and found a posh chocolate shop with a tea-room in the back where we had a lovely civilised cream tea. Southwold is a strange place. It's a bit like the 1950s unless you're trying to find a place to park in which case it's like central London just before the congestion charge. People largely come to Southwold to retire (if they can afford it - beach huts in Southwold sell for the same as houses elsewhere), or for lovely wholesome family day-trips. Lots of parked cars and nothing like enough spaces. Even on a weekday in February. Then it was back to Lowestoft, went and said hello to Pip, tried to say hello to my sister at the place where she works (hadn't realised it was her day off), got some lunch, and went back to the flat.

In the evening we went for a nice meal at a nearby Chinese restaurant. Well, that was the plan. It started so smoothly, too. Wake up from late-afternoon nap. Have a nice cuppa and browse the net together until deciding it's about time for dinner. Start to get ready.

Unfortunately the next bit went: Mary attempts to go and use the toilet, falls over, and lands in/on the bathtub, winded. Steve hears the crash, leaps up, helps the Mary-spaghetti out of the tub and into her bedroom, upon which he realises he's just got a nosebleed, probably from jumping up in panic like that. Both of us sit quietly, me with ibuprofen and him with a tissue up one nostril, until we decide to try again.

Nevertheless we got out and we had our dinner and, indeed, got home again, all in one piece (each).

On Saturday, as you can imagine I wasn't really up to much at all, but we went to the cinema to see Hot Fuzz. If you like Spaced or Shaun of the Dead or Black Books or any of that kind of stuff, you'll probably like this. The homage-o-meter goes through the roof, so I'm going to need to get this on DVD when it comes out.

And today... well, today he went back home. He wanted to travel while it was still light - the plan was he'd pack in the morning, then we'd have lunch, and then he'd leave - but it never works out like that at the best of times, instead he packed after lunch and didn't get gone until dusk. I wanted to go downstairs to wave him off but he was too worried about whether or not I'd make it back up to the flat on my own. He worries far too much. Still, he says it was a nice birthday so I guess that's mission accomplished :)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Error the First

Ladies and gentlemen, may I announce my first form-filling cock-up on page 11 of the 39-page Very Important Form.

Two pages, both alike in dignity layout. At the top is a question and tick boxes for Do you have problems with this? Yes/No. Then there's a largish box for "Tell us the problems you have and the help you need" and another one for "Tell us about any equipment you need and if someone helps you use this." Finally there's some small boxes for how often you have these problems/need this help, and for how long each time.

The first page is headed Getting out of bed in the morning and into bed at night. The second one is headed When you are in bed.

I very carefully and neatly started writing about the problems and techniques and equipment I use to get out of bed. I'd painstakingly written about eight lines before I had to stop. I sat with my eyes shut until I felt a bit better, then looked back down at the form and realised I'd written it all on the When you are in bed page.

I may have used interesting language.

Luckily I have plain paper and a pritt-stick which I am assured by the helpline people will be absolutely fine, happens all the time, nothing to worry about. That doesn't stop me feeling like a total wally though.

Tomorrow I'll try and sort it out. Today, I used up most of my energy going to see the doctor. I was quite nervous about this - the GP who's seen me since I was a kid is on maternity leave and the doctor who is covering for her isn't someone I'd seen before.

Doctors can be a bit funny about ME/CFS. I can't completely say I blame them - some people with ME get a bit evangelical about the whole thing, they read every bit of research and see their GPs once a fortnight and chase here there and everywhere following crazy therapies and are convinced they're allergic to The World and campaign for this that and the other to such an extent that one can't help wondering what they might achieve if they put such massive amounts of energy into something other than "illness". The trouble is, this puts people like me, who are less enthusiastically ill, at a bit of a disadvantage. I want a doctor to look at my notes, spot the diagnosis of ME/CFS and think "ah, so she suffers from mental and physical exhaustion, a certain amount of pain, sleep problems, etc," and then listen to me explain why I have come to see them, rather than think "oh god, not one of them. What wacky cure/pseudoscientific research am I going to have to hear about today?"

Luckily I don't tend to see the GP because of the ME/CFS stuff, only for acute illnesses, or at her request ("come back in 3 months for a review"), and I hope this works in my favour as establishing myself as Not A Timewaster. This particular visit was mainly about my ear now that I've completed the course of antibiotics. It's still a bit tender and itchy and, to use the new doctor's technical term after having looked in it, there's quite a bit of "green gunk" in there. Lovely. Ear drops and more pills, and come back to see her in three or four weeks.

She seemed nice, so I braced myself and told her the little worry that has been on my mind - as part of the DLA renewal, there are forms sent to your GP to fill out, which isn't a problem for my regular GP who has known me for ages, but might cause a hiccup for someone who's only ever seen me for six minutes about an ear infection. She smiled and said she'd already had one of those for another patient already, and what she would like to do is, when she gets the form, call me in for a long appointment to go through it and dig up any information that isn't readily available in my notes. So there's another big sigh of relief.

In other news, I've broken my kitchen. One of the drawers (the cutlery drawer to be precise) has come apart, not badly or irreparably, but the side pieces of chipboard that had been glued together are no longer together. Suggestions about the best product to fix it with are welcome.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Code Monkey

I've been digging through old emails, bookmarks, etc, and rediscovered this song:

Code Monkey!
Song by Jonathan Coulton, Video by Mike Spiff Booth.

I love this song. Liked some of his other stuff too. Have a looksee.

edited a minute after posting to add the creators' names. Oops.

If I'm ever short of a few bob

I'll know exactly what I can do.

Blue Badges selling for up to £1600

Jesus. I wouldn't leave an iPod (£260) or a TomTom (£350) in a car, particularly not anywhere it would be visible to anyone having a nosey, but if I use a disabled parking space I am supposed to leave my disabled parking badge (£1,600 - more than the value of my stepdad's entire car!) right on top of the dashboard, specifically in full and easy view.

In fact, technically we could get a ticket if it isn't in full view, for instance if it blows off the dashboard when we shut the door. It is my responsibility to make sure the badge is displayed in the correct manner.

There is of course the issue that plenty of people go ahead and park in the disabled spaces with no badge whatsoever. This year two of the spaces outside my flat are marked as "disabled". I've yet to go past it and see two cars displaying blue badges. Generally there's at least one of the following:
- A red crapmobile with printout pages in the windows advertising it For Sale.
- A green car advertising and belonging to the Indian restaurant/takeaway on the corner.
- A transit van advertising and belonging to Chriscott, an electrical shop two doors away.
- A 4x4 advertising and belonging to Home PC Fix, a computer shop a few doors down (but this is not the crappy shop that sold us the Problem Machine).

Strangely, none of these display blue badges. And they're all properly parked, not just dropping someone off or whatever. But I digress.

All I can think of is that I could keep the badge on me at all times and see if I get away with leaving a note in the windscreen stating my name, mobile number, which building I've gone into, and that if a parking warden wishes to check my badge they can please feel free to call me, or come in and find me, and examine my badge to their heart's content.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


A Good News Day.

Firstly, the antibiotics aren't having anywhere near as spectacular a digestive effect on me as they have been known to do in the past. Which is nice.

Secondly, although I am still almost-deaf in one ear, it's stopped oozing pus and isn't as painful any more as it was on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Thirdly, I've had two decent nights of sleep - little naps keep me going through the day but I need 8-10 hours of proper sleep a night as well in order to keep functioning. At the beginning of the week the ear was waking me up (probably because I kept rolling onto it), but now it's stopped.

And finally, I got a Nice Letter from the Department of Work and Pensions. As the disability claimants in the audience will know, disability benefits are split into two lots, the Incapacity Benefit (IB) which is the money you get to live off because you are incapable of work, and the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) which is the money you get whether you're working or not to cover the additional costs incurred by your impairment for day-to-day living such as tap-turners and kettle-tippers, taxi-fares, shopping delivery services, ready-prepared microwave meals, help with housework, or whatever else you deem appropriate. I'm currently working on a renewal form for my DLA but I'm much relieved by having had a letter today telling me that the IB50 form I filled out before Christmas to renew my IB was successful and therefore that part of my benefit will continue, with the next review not due for a couple of years.

The words "a weight off my mind" don't adequately express the relief I felt upon reading that letter.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

Contrary to expectations I did get some mail today.

Unfortunately it was a renewal form for my disability living allowance - thirty-nine A4 pages asking me to think REALLY hard about every single day-to-day activity I can't do or have trouble doing, and then write out exactly what sort of trouble I have. Phrased exactly right so that the maximum of information is given in the boxes they give you for each section, which is an art form in itself. You're allowed to enclose extra sheets, but given the DWP's astounding lack of ability to keep track of forms (they lost my initial claim twice), I wouldn't trust them with additional paperwork unless my life depended on it.

I think it may be one of the most depressing forms on the planet. Kind of like the opposite of a CV.

The thing which bugs me most is that if I was fit and healthy, it would cause me no problems whatsoever to sit at the desk for an hour or so and carefully write out "tailored" answers in their little boxes to depict a tale of such utter woe that I would be sure to get the money.

As it is, however, I can manage one page at a time, even with help. Then I have to lie down and shut my eyes and rest for a while, except the rest I get whilst in the middle of filling in forms like this is crap rest because it's full of worry - on the one hand, I don't like to think about all the stuff I can't do, but on the other hand, if I don't fill in this form on time and I don't tell it exactly how it is, I won't get the money I need to live on (especially as all my housing benefit and stuff links into the DLA decision).

It will take me at least a week, probably two, quite possibly three, to get this form sorted out, during which time I will be extra-stressed. And then on top of that, I've got this poxy ear infection/antibiotics thing going on at the moment too.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Save Me From My Fragile Little Mind

So, the last few days I've been in a bit of a strange condition. My body has been out to get me, muscles cramping, joints protesting, legs going out from under me, hands dropping things, throat on fire, you name it. But my brain (and it is there, they've checked) has been probably the best it's been this year, and I've managed to get a load of important stuff done in terms of filing, phone calls, and plotting what to do once my body is behaving again.

As you might imagine, I'm having quite a bit of trouble sleeping. I lie there in bed thinking "tired, want to sleeeeeeeep" but the physical aches and pains just keep on shouting at me. Last night I gave up. As well as my usual painkillers I took a little bit of Diazepam, which is lovely stuff for relieving muscle pain and also for helping me get to sleep. It's also really easy to build up a tolerance to it, or become addicted, which is why I only let myself use it a couple of times a month.

Thus followed a night of sleep, yes, but unusually also of bizarre dreams, some of which I remember very clearly.

The first one I can remember is one I've had a few times now. There's a big house with a big driveway and big gardens... and hundreds upon hundreds of cars. But the whole property appears deserted. I go into the house and start exploring (not sure why) and eventually find a room where a girl who looks a bit like my sister is lying in a kind of suspended animation. As I walk in she "comes to life" and explains that she's really eighty years old, and that the house is owned by her boyfriend who's a bit of a mad scientist character. He keeps arranging parties and meetings and the suchlike at the house and then kidnapping the attendees, taking them down to the cellar, and sucking out their life-force to keep her young and pretty. She doesn't mind so much but it would be nice for her if she could have a chat with them first as she's tired of never leaving the house and only seeing Mad Scientist Boyfriend. Enter Mad Scientist Boyfriend himself, who starts chasing us both around the house and gardens, waving a machete in one hand and a Standard Mad Scientist Green Bubbling Beaker in the other.

The second is one I've had since I was about six. Imagine a really BIG apartment building in a huge city, with metal fire-escapes criss-crossing the whole side of the building. Imagine something like a cross between the Marble Zone and the Star Light Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog. A nameless and terrifying figure in black (Death, the Wicked Witch, a creature made of binbags, depending on my age and frame of mind) is chasing me around the web of fire escapes. Like Sonic, the action is entirely in 2-D, although every so often I bang on one of the doors on the "back wall" if I can see light, hear voices, etc. No one ever answers.

The final dream I had was the strangest. It wasn't one I've had before and involved a fair few Real People.

It started on a film set for a Thomas the Tank Engine movie, although sometimes it was a movie and sometimes it was "real life". The train drivers were all people I knew though - Steve, Pip, The Goldfish, Aibee and Daniel, my parents, all there. There was also Tom Reynolds driving Bertie the Bus. I regret to inform my readers that I cannot remember (ahem) who took the part of the Fat Controller.

Everyone had their own little bit of storyline doing what they did best. The Goldfish and me came up with an ingenious scheme to make Annie and Clarabel completely accessible (alas, I can't remember the details). Pip built the extra parts and Steve wired and programmed it all, and while Annie and Clarabel were out of action being modified, Tom Reynolds and Bertie the Bus did a sterling job of driving the passengers at breakneck speeds to meet their connections at the next station where Aibee and Daniel were waiting. We'd just finished the modifications when he pulled up in Bertie and said that they'd been offered a job as an ambulance helping Harold the Helicopter (as piloted by Dominocat.

We all went to, er, "somewhere" to celebrate, it was a large theatre but seemed to be a house as well. We decided to play hide and seek upon which Reynolds announced that he had been Shakespeare in a former life (everyone accepted this quite happily) and knew all the secret passages in the theare. He helped me to the stage, pressed a few bits of wall, and then hid me behind a curtain, all the while insisting that it was the safest, most secret place there was. Then he dashed off to help other people and I saw that everyone was hiding in various curtains, except Pip's Littlun, who was counting, and Steve, who was making everybody a drink and telling us we must be found before our tea got cold. Reynolds came back saying he'd run out of blankets and could he borrow my curtain, so we pulled it down...

I woke up completely under my duvet.
I have decided that I must spend less time with the Littlun, less time playing counting-games with the Littlun, less time watching Thomas the Tank Engine with the Littlun... it's only a mercy that I haven't really been involved in the potty-training effort.

Edit/Update: I've been having trouble hearing and this afternoon my left ear started leaking pus, so I rang NHS direct who sent me to see a doctor and the upshot is that my sore throat isn't just the usual CFS sore throat, I've got an ear and throat type of infection and am running a fever with it. That explains a lot. It took about a minute and a half from me walking into the consulting room for the doctor to look in my ears and ask if I was allergic to antibiotics. Not sure if that's a good or a bad thing, but nevertheless I have some tablets and should feel better within a week.

Monday, February 12, 2007


It is February.

It is dark.

It is about teatime.

It is, for want of a better phrase, bloody freezing out there.

All this leads me to wonder why it is that I can hear an ice cream van doing the rounds?!?

Is there any good reason?

*makes nice hot cup of tea, bungs heat-pack in the microwave*

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Unavoidable Topic: Bird Flu

Most of my friends, and most of the blogs I read, successfully avoided making a comment on the non-story that was Celebrity Big Brother last month. I kind of hoped the same thing would be the case for the ridiculousness that is Bird Flu Panic - the mainstream media get shouty, but among ourselves, we're not too bothered. No such luck. I realised I had to make some sort of comment on the matter when a friend of mine from the Darlington area contacted me to gleefully inform me of his plans to purchase a chicken and drive around with it in his car, just because he could. Or more to the point, because I can't, as I am within the exclusion zone.

The media is making every effort it can to scare us about the bird-flu thing. Can you imagine another situation where "man has a bit of a cold" in the UK in early February would turn into headline news on the front page of

Taking it even further was 103.4 The Beach, which is the only radio station with a decent signal on this outlying edge of the country. Their website asks:
Bird flu is reported at Bernard Matthews in Halesworth. Are you concerned?
-Yes - especially as this has claimed human lives overseas
-Only for those workers who have come into contact with them
-No - the officials say there is nothing to fear and I trust them

That's leading enough - and no option for "I'm not scared because I actually have my own opinions" - however the announcer Pip and I heard the other day was phrasing it more along the lines of:
"Are you concerned about bird flu? Do you think that only workers in the industry are at risk? Or perhaps (voice changes to tone of utter disbelief) you ACTUALLY believe everything the so-called experts are saying and that there really is nothing to worry about?!?" We ended up shouting at the radio. It seems like they are trying to create a panic.

Personally, I'm not really worried at all about bird-flu as a health issue. Regular normal seasonal flu kills plenty more people, as do a hundred other illnesses. I do not own any chickens and I wasn't planning on visiting any farms. Any chicken I eat is properly prepared and thoroughly cooked anyway. (If, after saying that, I do happen to die horribly of H5N1, then you may all dance on my grave shouting "told you so!" However I will not be held responsible if my ghost infects those who do this).

BUT I am worried about bird flu in an economic and social sense. You see, Bernard Matthews is pretty much THE biggest employer around here. Then there's about half a dozen other factories dealing wholly or partially with chicken. Not to mention the farms. It's a big industry here.

When we had the BSE hoo-ha, a lot of people stopped eating British beef. Some stopped eating beef altogether, others bought imported beef. Supermarkets stopped stocking British beef altogether for a time. Farms were crippled.

If the media continues to try and upset the public over bird flu, the poultry industry is likely to feel the same effects. Less demand for chicken and turkey. Imports being preferred over the British produce. Mr Matthews won't need to run his UK factory at full capacity. He might decide to begin moving ops abroad. I asked a friend of a friend, who used to work there, what he thought. Here's what I was told, I've tried to be accurate although bear in mind it's not an exact quote as I don't often tape discussions with people. ;)

"The company themselves don't really have that many employees at a factory-floor level. They get people via agencies on really short contracts that usually get renewed so long as the person wants to work there. Usually a contract is four weeks. If the factory doesn't need to run at full capacity, they don't need to sack people and deal with all the redundancy stuff. Remember, the workers aren't employees of BM. They're being provided by the agencies, and it's the agencies who deal with the contracts. So one month, an agency might have 100 BM contracts available. The next month, they have 90 contracts available. But no one's been "sacked". Of course, there's a pretty high turnover of staff - people get better jobs or leave because of illness, maternity, whatever - so the little fluctuations aren't really noticed. But if there's anything big, or if the factory closes completely, a lot of people are going to be utterly screwed."

Disclaimer: That is not an official Bernard Matthews statement. It is simply the paraphrased opinion of someone who no longer works there, of what he percieved the situation to be when he did work there, and how he thinks things might pan out. For official Bernard Matthews statements, see their website.

For now, I think if I worked at BM I would be making sure my CV was up to date and that I had an interview suit that fitted. If I worked for the Jobcentre, I would be trying to clear my desk to deal with a possible influx of new applications for JSA. And if I worked within one of the agencies, I might invest in a suit of armour...

Edited about a minute after posting to fix a broken link.
Edited 0953 on 8 Feb 07, "HN51" to "H5N1", thanks Jo :)

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Comment Moderation

As a little break from the computer worries, I thought I'd post a bit about Blogger comment moderation.

As the posters here know, I have comment moderation turned on, and occasionally someone will start to discuss this with me via email or msn or (heaven forbid) in person. So I thought maybe I should post an explanation.

There are a lot of good reasons why I should un-moderate the comments. Readers could have conversations, if I am away from the keyboard for a couple of days the comments would still go online, and people might be more inclined to post comments. I like getting comments. Some more than others, admittedly, but on the whole, I write this in order that people read it and it's nice to think that what I've written has made people want to respond.

When I started this blog, the comments were as open and free as you could wish for. Then I turned on the CAPTCHA because I doubt that many readers actually have an ardent desire to buy V14gr4 online at l0w l0w pr1c3s! Or fake Rolex watches. Although if you do then please don't hesitate to let me know - I am sure my junk mail folder can accomodate you.

The trouble seemed to start when I left a couple of comments on the Wandering Scribe blog by Anya Peters when it hit the BBC news website. Ms Peters has felt compelled to totally turn off the comments to her blog these days, because of the sheer volume of abuse she was getting. The antagonists turned their attention to any and every blogger who was being friendly towards her. These people weren't reading what had been written and writing a response to it. They weren't even people I knew who might have had a reason to dislike me, and it wasn't just me who was a target. They were merely trying to be as abrasive as possible to as many people as possible.

I didn't want to "censor" material, but neither did I want to clutter up my few genuine comments with stuff like twenty lines full of copy/paste/repeated "c*nt c*nt c*nt c*nt c*nt c*nt nt c*nt c*nt c*nt" posted as a comment several times a day.

Blogger's recommendation on how to deal with trolls like this was to turn on moderation, not allow their comments through, and not bother responding. It's much the same principle as dropping junk mail into the recycle bin without opening it.

Of course, there are also people who simply don't like me (fair enough) and have, at various stages of the last year, wished to tell me this via the comments page. I am not sure why it is that, since they don't like me, don't like my writing, think the world would be a happier place if I were removed from it, etc, they were bothering to keep up with my blog on a regular basis... the internet has many many pages and no one has to read these ones.

Some of the blog comments from this sort of people were simply tirades with an expletive for every other word. Some were outright threats. And some were just unimaginative insults - an example of this sort of person can be seen on the comments for my post on 28th November 2006, when I started blogging again after a three-month break. The very first comment reads: "Not dead yet you whining bitch? I was hoping..."

I cannot, will not, and have not deleted readers' comments just because they disagree with my viewpoint, or they've said something a bit nasty to/about me, or I personally dislike them. However I don't see where I've got a duty to publish and broadcast (at the expense of the readability of my own blog comments section) the off-topic gibberings of out-and-out trolls - they can do that on their own websites! Same goes for advertisers. Threats aren't a regular occurence and the posters probably couldn't/wouldn't fulfil them, but they get forwarded to Blogger without being published. That much is easy.

Slightly trickier is comments full of swearwords or "isms" (sexism, disablism, racism, homophobia(uh, ism) and so on) make me a bit uneasy, but if they're making an actual point, rather than just being random and inchoate insults, then they should probably go through. But swearwords on the page also mean that some readers can't view the page through their net-nanny type software, and I want them to be able to view it. (Plus, my mother sometimes reads this.) I could always reject those comments and then repost them with the swearwords ****ed out, but then it opens the can of worms about editing people's posts without their knowledge or consent. I could email the writer and ask them to repost without the swearing and/or "isms", but I would need their email address and for some reason this sort of commenter never seems to want to put their name to what they've written.

Where would you draw the line?