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

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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).

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Texas Country Roads

Pic Source

Leon Hale offers some sage advice in this column from the Houston Chronicle.

Randomly driving down unmarked dirt roads in East Texas was a family pastime when I was growing up. "Red Dirt" roads were worth bonus points.

You should definitely not miss a chance to drive down some of these old dirt roads and see the bluebonnets, dogwoods and other Texas wildflowers this Spring.

Hale points out that sometimes his friends will ask:

"Yeah, but who knows where a road like that goes?"

His response is:

Then take it and find out. Go slow, roll the windows down, experience the country when it's waking up, turning green, smelling fertile. Maybe you'll get lost for an hour or so. Good. That won't hurt. Eventually you'll come out of the woods somewhere.

...and the time spent exploring the road will almost certainly be worth it.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Merck Wins Vioxx Trial in Madison County

Merck was found not liable in the first Vioxx trial in the midwest.

Details here.

The jury's verdict checklist is detailed here.

Local news coverage can be found here.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Great Canon

Last night I attended the service of the Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete at my parish.

The Great Canon is read (in portions) throughout the first week of Great Lent and in its entirety (along with the Life of Saint Mary of Egypt) during the fifth week.

The text of the Canon can be found in the Lenten Triodion. An online version of the text (arranged for the services of the first week of Lent) can be found here.

An online version of the Life of Saint Mary of Egypt can be found here.

Some good commentary on the Great Canon can be found here.

An online version of the Life of Saint Andrew of Crete can also be found here.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Battlefield Band

Last night (with a Belhaven Scottish Ale in hand) I saw Battlefield Band return to Houston in a standing-room only concert at the Mucky Duck.

The band put on a great show featuring a number of traditional Scottish and Irish tunes as well as several original compositions.The highlights included a setting of "To a Mouse" from the Robert Burns poem (which includes the famous line about the "best laid plans of mice and men"), "Road of Tears" the title track from their newest cd, "Take Me to the Sea", "Nancy's Whiskey", a cover of Woody Guthrie's "Plane Wreck at Los Gatos" and some amazing piping by Mike Katz.

The band also played their show-stopping rendition of Prince’s "Kiss"...complete with bagpipe solo!

More info on the band’s recordings can be found here. Mike Katz’s solo cd can be found here.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Sit Down Sheila

Photo Source

I usually steer clear of politics on this blog...but this is just too funny to pass up.

Houston Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has been getting a lot of press over the past few days for her camera hogging at a recent Houston appearance by Senator Hilary Clinton.

Anyone who has followed Ms. Lee's career closely over the years knows of her uncanny ability to get herself in front of the cameras.

This story is also covered here, here and here.


Monday, March 19, 2007

St. Patrick's Day

This year I observed the Feast of St. Patrick (according to the Gregorian Calendar) by attending the festivities held at the Mucky Duck.

On the serious side...Saint Patrick is one of the best known Western Saints whose life and works are worthy reads.

and on the lighter side...

The celebrations this year began at noon and I arrived not long after to find the Duck packed with hundreds of people. The parking lot had also been converted into a giant festival tent complete with a couple of bars and a main stage. There were two acts going on simultaneously throughout the day on both the inside and outside stages.

The performers included: Clandestine, The Rogues, The O'Maoileidigh Irish Dancers, Wyndnwyre, The Celtic Gypsies, E.J. Jones, Martin Burniston, the Irish Session Players, Jim Mackenzie and Marybeth McQueen.

I managed to catch at least one set by each of the performers and everyone put on a great show.

As expected, there was plenty of Guinness to be had. I subscribe to the "liquid bread" theory as to whether beer should be consumed during Lent...I mean who am I to argue with centuries of monastic tradition. : )

I was even handed a complimentary Guinness by an actual "Guinness Girl"...a lovely creature who, up to that point, I believed only existed in myths!


Orthodox Clergy Threatened in Indonesia

From Orthodox News:

March 19, 2007

The Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia (Ecumenical Patriarchate) wishes to issue the following statement, concerning situations in Indonesia.

The Orthodox Christians in Indonesia have joined the list of those attacked by Muslim extremists. Father Methodios Sri Gunarjo, his family and other Orthodox were terrorized and threatened this past weekend. Although there are no reports of physical harm at this point, the verbal, psychological and other forms of abuse continue. At one point, a knife was put to the throat of Father Methodios, as his attackers demanded that he close the Churches in the Boyolali area of Central Java. It should be noted that there is a thriving ministry in this area.

A large group of Muslim protestors has gathered in the Church area and continues making demands upon Father Methodios and the Church community. The attackers are not from Boyolali, as local Christians and Muslims have joined in showing their support for Father Methodios, who is noted for the love and compassion he has shown all people in the area. Father Methodios and his family have been forced to leave their home, as their lives have now been threatened.

Metropolitan Nikitas has not been able to contact Father Methodios directly, although he is in constant communication with other clergy in Indonesia. He has requested that people pray for peace and an end to the violence and attacks upon the Church community.

More information on the Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia can be found here.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Another Use for Duct Tape...

...the "Duct Tape Bible".

I saw this in Barnes & Noble the other day and had to take a look.

The publisher's blurb includes the following:

"Finally a Bible that's as adventurous as you are!

Do you like to go hiking, camping, on mission trips, to outdoor music festivals, etc? Get the Bible that can live up to your crazy schedule.

Durable enough to take anywhere, the Duct Tape Bible is tough enough to use in real life. You can take the Duct Tape Bible anywhere you want to go - (on any of your fun-filled trips, or even to school or church).

And the message of this Bible is even more durable than the duct tape. It's a life-changing message that will last forever. In silver duct tape or camouflage, get the version that is perfect for you...

The first-ever Bible wrapped in duct-tape!"

Wow! Imagine that...a Bible that you can even take to Church!

Uses the New Century Version translation.

I didn't see the "Camouflage" version in stock. No doubt that one is perfect for your deer-stand reading pleasure.



Recent Vioxx Litigation News

Merck loses the Humeston case retrial in New Jersey. The jury awarded the plaintiffs $47.5 million in damages. Details here.

An update on the ongoing Vioxx trial in Illinois can be found here.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Recent Vioxx Litigation News

An update on the ongoing Vioxx trial in Illinois can be found here.

Here is an article with some new details on the aftermath of the Garza case in South Texas. The Judge has let Merck's request for a new trial expire and the jury award stand. Merck had requested a new trial based on the fact that one of the jurors had taken out a cash loan from the widow of the deceased plaintiff shortly before the trial began.


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Moscow Pilgrimage

The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia has announced details of a planned pilgrimage to Moscow.

The pilgrimage is being held in conjunction with the celebrations surrounding the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion between the Moscow Patriarchate and ROCOR.

More details on the pilgrimage can be found here.


Monday, March 05, 2007

Ray Wylie Hubbard

I was able to catch Ray Wylie Hubbard in concert at his second show at the Mucky Duck on Saturday night.

This was the first time that I had seen him perform. I had originally become interested in his music through Hayes Carll's frequent praise for Ray at Hayes' shows. After hearing Ray in concert I can now hear some similarities between his music and Hayes.

To me Ray's music seems heavily influenced by the Blues tradition. His music often has a very dark yet soulful and rhythmic quality to it. It also reminds me of the swamp rock genre in some ways.

Ray played a great set on both acoustic and steel guitar. He was backed by only a percussionist and was joined for a few songs by his young son Lucas on lead guitar....and that kid can really play! Lucas laid down one of the hottest solos I have heard at the Duck in some time.

Ray played a generous set of songs from throughout his long career that included: "Snake Farm", "Kilowatts", "Mother Hubbard's Blues", "Rabbit", "Polecat", "Dust of the Chase", "Cooler than Hell", "Name Droppin'", "Up Against the Wall/Redneck Mother" (yup...he wrote that one), "Mississippi Flush", "Night Time", "Ballad of the Crimson Kings", "Conversation with the Devil", "The Messenger" and "Choctaw Bingo".

More info on Ray Wylie Hubbard can be found here.

You can sample some of his music here.


Friday, March 02, 2007

Mixed Verdict in New Jersey Vioxx Trial

Merck found liable in Humeston case and not liable in Messerchmidt case.

Details here.


Silicosis Screening Company Fined

"The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has fined a New Jersey medical screening company $80,500 for X-raying potential silicosis plaintiffs at three Pennsylvania motel parking lots without prior written authorization or the presence of a licensed medical practitioner."

Full article here.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Upcoming Shows

03/01 - Chiara String Quartet at the Mucky Duck
03/02 - Eric Clapton/Robert Cray at Toyota Center
03/02 - Hayes Carll and Richard Thompson at the Crighton Theater
03/02 - Mark Germino at Anderson Fair
03/02 - Charlie Robison at the Firehouse Saloon
03/02 - Two High String Band at Last Concert Cafe
03/02 - Jimmy Lafave at the Mucky Duck
03/03 - Ray Wylie Hubbard at the Mucky Duck
03/03 - Shake Russell at Anderson Fair
03/06 - The Gougers at the Mucky Duck
03/08 - Miss Leslie and Her Juke-Jointers at Blanco's
03/08 - Stoney Larue at the Firehouse Saloon
03/09 - Jesse Dayton at Armadillo Palace
03/09 - The Greencards at the Mucky Duck
03/09 - South Austin Jug Band at Last Concert Cafe
03/09 - Dana Cooper and Annika Fehling at Anderson Fair
03/09 - Dale Watson at Blanco's
03/10 - Bleu Edmondson at the Firehouse Saloon
03/16 - Hayes Carll at the Mucky Duck
03/17 - St. Patrick's Day at the Mucky Duck
03/17 - Johnny Lang at Verizon Theater
03/20 - Battlefield Band at the Mucky Duck
03/22 - Reckless Kelly at Big Texas
03/23 - Emmylou Harris at Jones Hall
03/23 - South Austin Jug Band at the Mucky Duck
03/24 - Tom Russell at the Mucky Duck
03/24 - Tish Hinojosa at Anderson Fair
03/29 - Todd Snider at Warehouse Live
03/29 - Guy Forsyth at the Mucky Duck
03/30 - James Hand at Blanco's
03/31 - Houston Marchman at Anderson Fair
03/31 - Jesse Dayton and Johnny Bush at the Continental Club
03/31 - Gordy Quist and Idgy Vaughn at Rouse House Concerts