The Sin Eater

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Our little bit of history today comes from the depths of my Evernote where I had saved an article by Meg Favreau on Table Matters about the custom of funeral cakes, and sin eaters.  This reminded me of i09’s article “The Weird but True History of Sin Eaters”  and then the BBC article about how the grave of Richard Munslow, the last known sin eater in the UK, had been recently (2010) restored.

It’s a kind of hapless research I have in my Evernote; collections of articles and links on a subject growing larger over years, never collated.  Sin eaters would become outcasts, tainted in the public eye by the sins they had taken from the recently deceased.  The custom usually includes eating and drinking bread and wine that had been passed over the dead.  The sin eater was paid for their trouble, that of carrying the sins for the rest of their days, but also shunned.

The custom is sometimes tied to Leviticus, and thought to be a mutated practice of scapegoating, where humans and not goats are given the transgressions and cast out.

This custom alludes (methinkes) something to the Scape-goate in ye old Lawe.  Leviticus, cap. xvi, verse 21, 22.  “And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goate and confesse over him all ye iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fitt man into the wilderness.  And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities, unto the land no inhabited: and he shall let the goat goe unto the wilderness.”

-Hartland, E.S. (1892) “The Sin-Eater.”  Folklore.  3(2); 145-157.

But the practices of making one person a sacrifice for a whole community is very common.  Wikipedia’s scapegoat discusses the Greek custom of casting out a crippled member of the community, especially when facing an immanent threat.  Cultures all over the world have had traditions of sacrifice deep in their past, and though most of the world now shuns ritual killings, the tradition of sacrifice continues on in narrative, worship, and even politics.

Names for things and rituals may change a little, but I’m not really sure there ever will be a last sin-eater.

Finally drawing again

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pegasusI am drawing again.  I had said I was, didn’t I?  Well, I am.

I think I like requests the best–I always end up with something I wouldn’t draw normally.  Richard of and Gyrojets wanted something for Friday’s concert so I drew him this.

If you are out and about on Friday night anywhere near Pegasus lounge in Tampa, you should stop by and see Gyrojets.  They are the bombs.

Mapping a name

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You ever spend a really long time just to get a visual, or organize a huge amount of information for your own personal digestion?  And then you do nothing with it.  Well, welcome to mine.

In the course of doing some genealogical research I started to wonder where my name-sake got her name, and then to also wonder about the popularity and the spread of the name LeEtta.  And so I poured through the census and made a map of LeEtta movement from the 1860 census to the 1940 census in 40 year increments.  It looks like we’re taking over the world, but really there are only 249 of 132 million people in 1940.  That’s like one in half a million.  :)


Given name LeEtta/Leetta in the 1860 Census.


when pigs fly

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pigsfly It feels like an eternity already since I properly posted anything, especially a Levi Levi update.  And sadly, I’m not ready to jump back in with two feet, yet, either.

I’ve hinted already, but we have bought our first house and it is currently sucking all our time and money away.  Even so, it’s terribly exciting.  Wrestling with thorny, overgrown bushes in the hot Florida summer sun doesn’t even make it less exciting.

Expect more and more posts on house and garden stuff inspired by my house and garden.  Eventually, I might even manage a before and after slide show.  Aren’t you excited?

Bechdel test rating movies

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Because I’d never heard about this before and now that I have I cannot stop applying it whenever I am confronted with a movie preview: The Bechdel test:

To get an A rating, a movie must pass the so-called Bechdel test, which means it must have at least two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man.

And of course, a reminder:

“There are far too many films that pass the Bechdel test that don’t help at all in making society more equal or better, and lots of films that don’t pass the test but are fantastic at those things,” said Swedish film critic Hynek Pallas.

via Swedish cinemas take aim at gender bias with Bechdel test rating | World news |

As an advertizement strategy, it’s pretty awesome.  At first, I’d say that it shouldn’t be put in a position to shut out movies that don’t fit, though, it couldn’t do worse than any current rating system.

Recipe – more things on toast

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eggtomatopoachI mentioned before about making things on toast for dinner.  The distraction of looking for a house meant I only made two such meals before the mold came.  Obviously, it’s been a while since that happened; I’ve been keeping this post in my drafts while buying, packing and moving.  Yes.  I have a house!  And pretty soon, this blog will be replete with fix-its and design finishes…once I have a computer set up at home.

Anyway, back to the food.  My husband and I love the taste of this meal, but I hate to cook it since simmering tomato sauce is so messy.  If you are game, I suggest you try it:  poached eggs in tomato sauce on toast.  Here, with a side of steamed and buttered mustard greens.

I don’t really have a recipe for this.  Just fill a pot with enough tomato sauce to poach the eggs.  Add whatever seasoning you want.  Drop eggs in simmering sauce and keep simmering until they are as hard as you like them.  Ladle them on to toast and voila, you have a decadent tasting dinner.