.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}


reports and thoughts on legal issues, music, Orthodox Christianity and/or whatever else strikes my interest

My Photo
Location: Houston, Texas, United States

My name is David Stone. I live in Houston, Texas. I am a 30-something single white male. I am an Orthodox Christian and am a member of an English-language parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR).

Friday, February 23, 2007

Eric Taylor

Last Saturday night I saw Eric Taylor in concert over at Anderson Fair.

I almost did not see him perform because the show was a near sell-out. He has quite a large following as this article demonstrates. I was very fortunate to secure one of the handful of remaining seats. Many Thanks to the gentleman who invited me to sit at one of the front row tables.

This was the first time I had ever seen Eric Taylor perform. It was also, hands down, one of the finest concerts I have ever heard.

In short, Eric Taylor is a genius. His music has influenced many other artists such as Lyle Lovett, Nanci Griffith and Steve Earle. His lyrics are intensely poetic and command your attention. His singing and stage presence are simply spellbinding. In my opinion he ranks as one of America's greatest living songwriters.

At Anderson Fair he played a mesmerizing set including: "Brand New Companion", "Dirty Dirty", "Where I Lead Me", "Big Love", "Whorehouse Mirrors and Pawnshop Knives", "Manhattan Mandolin Blues", and "Mission Door". He was joined on a few songs by Susan Lindfors who provided some very nice harmony singing.

Of particular interest was his remembrances of Townes Van Zandt and the performances of a few of his songs.

Do not miss an opportunity to hear Eric Taylor in concert.

As Nanci Griffith has remarked: "If you miss an opportunity to hear Eric Taylor, you have missed a chance to hear a voice I consider the William Faulkner of songwriting in our current time."

You can sample some of Eric Taylor's music here.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Wyeth Loses Philadelphia Prempro Trial

Wyeth loses a Prempro trial in Philadelphia. Details here. The Jury awarded $3 million in damages.

This was the second time the case had gone to trial. An earlier trial ended with the Jury awarding $1.5 million in damages but the Judge later declared a mistrial.

Lenten Epistle



JORDANVILLE: February 20, 2007


Reverend Fathers, Dear in the Lord Brothers, Sisters and Children:

I send my heartfelt greetings to all of you on the arrival of the salvific period of Great Lent, the time designated for our inner self-examination. The Holy Church summons us towards this, that we purify ourselves with augmented prayers and fasting, that we illumine ourselves with the reading of spiritually-beneficial books and approach our God and Creator, our Heavenly Father and Closest Friend, Who invites us into His Kingdom, the Kingdom of Love, Peace, Mercy and Light.

Our Lord Jesus Christ says: "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6:14-15). And also: "Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift" (Matthew 5:23-24).

So, dear in the Lord fathers, brothers, sisters and children, in order that our prayers, labors of fasting and repentance be pleasing to God and that they gain for us the absolution of sins and the renewal of our inner strength, we must be at peace with our neighbor.

In fact, how could our prayers, fasting and repentance be a pure sacrifice before God if they emerge from hearts that are filled with hatred against others? We must read the Lord's Prayer often: "Our Father… forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors." By keeping enmity within our hearts, how dare we utter these words of the Lord's Prayer? Would not our prayer then remain a hollow sound? Would we not be lying brazenly before God? We often hear the exclamation during divine services: "In peace let us pray to the Lord; Peace be unto to all." These words demand of us that we approach prayer having first made peace with everyone, so that we stand before God without anger or malice. Or, when the Holy Church prepares us for the worthy participation in the Divine Liturgy, she also reminds us of reconciliation and love as necessities for our fruitful communion with God and each other in the Mystery of Communion. "Let us love one another, that with one mind we may confess the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." In the ancient Church, in witness to this mutual love, Christians who prayed during Divine Liturgy kissed one another; now this is performed only by the priests within the altar, while all others, as they hear this exclamation, must establish love and peace for all within their souls. How dare we, fathers, brothers and sisters, perform or pray during Divine Liturgy with hostility in our hearts, and approach Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ our Savior, Who, as He was crucified, prayed for His enemies? We will truly enter into communion with God only when we expel from our hearts wrath and wickedness.

St Anastasius of Sinai recounted the story of one monk who led his life in sloth and disregard for monastic rules, who during his final moments felt special spiritual joy. The other monks were amazed at this and asked him what brings him such joy. The dying monk responded thusly: "I watched as the holy angels shredded the lists of my sins, for though I lived carelessly and slothfully, I never condemned anyone, never remembered the evils of others."

And so, reverend fathers, brothers, sisters and children, as we remember the testament of our Savior, the call of the Holy Church, and as we immerse ourselves in the spiritually-beneficent Lenten time by taking the example of the Holy Fathers, let us strive especially to prevent enmity, hatred and anger amongst ourselves, and instead let peace, love, trust and other Christian virtues eternally abide among us. Let us try in our earthly lives fulfill in deed fulfill the instructions of Apostle Paul to the Christians: "let not the sun go down upon your wrath" (Ephesians 4:26), "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men" (Romans 12:18), "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:21), and may the Lord help us in these holy days.

Once again I greet you all with the Great Lent and prayerfully wish every one of you reconciliation with God in His image, which is reflected in our neighbors. Let the purified heart of each one of us become the Life-Bearing Tabernacle from which the Resurrected Lord will shine forth. Let everyone see in our eyes and in our lives this Triumph of Christ over evil, over sin and over everything horrible in this world. Greeting the Pascha of Christ in this way will be the finest way to preach the truth of Orthodoxy. In this bright state, I hope, we shall approach the canonical actions which will serve to the reestablishment this year of peace and unity within the Local Russian Orthodox Church.

May this be within the souls of each one of us. Amen.

With love in the Lord, I beseech your prayers,

+ Metropolitan Laurus,First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

John Evans

I'm a little behind on my concert blogs...trying to catch up...

Last week I dropped by the Mucky Duck to catch John Evans in an acoustic performance.

He was celebrating the release of his new solo cd "Side Show". John recorded the cd at home over only a two day period!

It is another solid collection of songs from Mr. Evans.

John also played some songs from his earlier cds including: "Diamonds, Gold and Pretty Things", "Endlessly Blue" and "Out of Control".

You can check out more of John Evans music here.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Wyeth Wins Prempro Trial

A Jury in a Federal Prempro trial in Arkansas has found Wyeth not liable.

Details here.

Orthodox Inter-Seminary Movement Meets at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville

Photos from here and here

The Orthodox Inter-Seminary Movement held its most recent Meeting at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York.

This event marked the first time that the organization has held a meeting at Holy Trinity Seminary which is located on the grounds of the Monastery.

Details of the meeting can be found here.

Some photos of the meeting can be found here.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Shadow Jury

Here is an interesting article on the use of a "shadow jury" in the ongoing Vioxx trial in New Jersey.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Vioxx Trial Update

Here is an update to the ongoing Vioxx trial in New Jersey.

Merck's lead attorney is once again in trouble with the Judge and was sanctioned yesterday for contempt of court and fined $1,000. The Judge later withdrew the fine.


Here is an interesting article on Mount Athos.

More information on Holy Mount Athos and its Monasteries can be found here and here.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Saints of the Day

Today, the Orthodox Churches who observe the Julian Calendar celebrate the Feasts of:

New Martyr Vladimir, Metropolitan of Kiev

and the Icons of the Theotokos:

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

More Info on St. Xenia of Petersburg

A brief life of St. Xenia can be found here.

St. Xenia of Petersburg

Today is the Feast Day of Blessed Xenia of Petersburg. This clip is from the official Glorification service in 1978.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Article on Icon Exhibit

The following article on this weekend's Icon Exhibit at St. Jonah Orthodox Church appeared today in the Houston Chronicle:

St. Jonah Orthodox Church to display rare icons
Exhibit items are hundreds of years old

Chronicle Correspondent

They are breathtakingly beautiful, quite old, and practically priceless. And, for the third year, St. Jonah Russian Orthodox Church will welcome the community to view their amazing icons.
The term icon, from the Greek word eikon, means "image."

"Icons are a big part of the Eastern Orthodox Church and we use this as an opportunity to give back to the community, as an outreach. This is something we decided to do as a church," said church council president Nicholas Worontsoff.

What you can expect

More than 50 gilded icons, representing Jesus, Mary, the major saints, feast days and holidays, will be on display Friday-Sunday. They are from the private collection of a church member and are hundreds of years old.

"They are a part of our worship services, windows into heaven. We do not worship the actual icon but what it represents," Worontsoff said.

Expert guidance

Experts will be on hand to explain what each item represents and its significance as well as to explain the colors and style techniques.

Ethnic pastries and Russian-themed books and gifts will be available for purchase.

"We want to invite everyone to come see the icon collection it's free. We want people who are Russian Orthodox to come and we also invite everyone else who is curious to come. It's not often that you get to see old icons," said Father John Whiteford.


The church will present lectures on orthodox evangelism, the history of iconoclasm, and the culture associated with orthodox Christianity.

"We really want people from all backgrounds to understand Orthodox Christianity not as some weird or exotic religion but as rooted in Christianity," Whiteford said.

He will present a talk on the history of iconoclasm Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m., using the icons as examples.

Father Joseph Huneycutt, author of One Flew Over the Onion Dome, a book about contemporary Orthodox Church, will be a guest speaker Friday evening, addressing the topic of Orthodox Evangelism.

Choir performance

The church choir will perform hymns from various seasons on Saturday and Sunday.

"This exhibit itself is alone really top-quality. There are a number of really impressive, high quality icons," Worontsoff said.

Though the congregation currently meets in leased strip shopping center space, they hope to be in a new facility for next year's icon exhibit.

"We have more people come each year we have the event," Whiteford said. "It really is a unique experience to see the icons outside of a museum and in the context of worship. Their native environment is the best way to appreciate them."