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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).

Monday, July 30, 2007

Upcoming Shows

8/1 - Jed & Kelly at Puffabelly's
8/2 - The Gougers and Hayes Carll at Heritage Place Amphitheater in Conroe (Free Show!)
8/2 - John Egan at Mojo Risin'
8/2 - Cadillac Sky at McGonigel's Mucky Duck
8/3 - Side Show Tramps (formerly The Medicine Show) at the Continental Club
8/4 - Asylum Street Spankers at the Mucky Duck
8/5 - Jesse Dayton at Armadillo Palace
8/7 - Songwriters Night with Rachel Loy, Suzanna Choffel, Johnny Goudie and Brian Keane at the Mucky Duck
8/8 - Adam Carroll at Puffabelly's
8/9 - California Guitar Trio at the Mucky Duck
8/10 - James Hand at Blanco's
8/10 - Stoney Larue at the Firehouse Saloon
8/11 - Bleu Edmondson at the Firehouse Saloon
8/11 - Sisters Morales (Spanish show) at the Mucky Duck
8/12 - Brandon Rhyder at the Mucky Duck
8/14 - Songwriters Night with Shake Russell, Kelly McGuire and Heath Wright at the Mucky Duck
8/15 - Shake Russell at Puffabelly's
8/16 - Guy Forsyth at the Mucky Duck
8/17 - Dale Watson at Blanco's
8/24 - The Gougers at the Continental Club
8/24 - Jimmy LaFave at the Mucky Duck
8/24 - The Hudsons at Anderson Fair
8/24 - Billy Joe Shaver at Armadillo Palace
8/24 - Gary P. Nunn at Blanco's
8/25 - Bruce Robison at the Mucky Duck
8/26 - Ray Benson at Armadillo Palace
8/28 - Randy Weeks at the Mucky Duck
8/29 - Rodney Crowell at the Mucky Duck (already have my tickets)
8/31 - The Heathens at the Mucky Duck


Friday, July 27, 2007

WR Grace Loses Sole Control of Chpt 11

From Forbes:


A bankruptcy judge on Thursday cut off W.R. Grace & Co.'s exclusive control of its bankruptcy case, opening up the possibility of competing Chapter 11 proposals for the specialty chemical company.

In a three-page order, Judge Judith Fitzgerald of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., granted a motion by lawyers for asbestos claimants, who said the threat of a rival Chapter 11 plan could push Grace to the bargaining table.

Daunting asbestos liabilities pushed W.R. Grace into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2001. The company said it had made progress in dealing with its asbestos troubles, and should hold on to the exclusive right to propose an outcome to its case.

"Termination of exclusivity will facilitate moving the case toward conclusion by changing the dynamics for negotiation while permitting (Grace) to continue to operate their business, resolve claims and participate in negotiations," the judge wrote.

Grace's bankruptcy proceedings have been characterized by extensive litigation over the company's asbestos liabilities. A court-ordered attempt to mediate a deal with asbestos claimants failed last year, and asbestos lawyers complain Grace has not been willing to talk.

The Columbia, Md.-based company's lawyers say they have been engaged in extensive talks with asbestos creditors.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Memorial to Victims of the Stalinist Purges

Photo Source

These photos are from a service at Solovetsky Monastery in northern Russia.

A large wooden cross was blessed that will be taken to Butovo outside of Moscow.

The service and cross are part of ceremonies in remembrance of the victims of the Stalinist purges.

This article from the Moscow Times gives more details on the observances that mark the 70th anniversary of the "Great Purge".

As the article notes:

"On the same day as the gathering, a memorial procession organized by the Russian Orthodox Church set out from the Solovetsky Islands, Interfax reported Wednesday. After a two-week journey, the procession will deliver a cross to the Butovo shooting range south of Moscow. More than 20,000 people were executed at the range in 1937 and 1938."


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Lawsuit Filed Over NYC Pipe Explosion

Well this didn't take long.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Bells of the Danilov Monastery

Photos from here and here

The historical bells of the Danilov Monastery are nearing their return to Russia.

The bells are currently in the possession of Harvard University at Lowell House where they have been since the 1930's.

An agreement was reached in March to return to the bells to the monastery.

of the bells have been made at a Russian bell foundry and are due to be shipped to Harvard as replacements.

More information on the history of the bells can be found here and here.

Some audio recordings of the bells can be heard here.


Friday, July 20, 2007

Breaking News: Sentencing in OxyContin Case

A Federal Judge has levied a $634.5 million fine against the maker of the drug OxyContin and three of its executives.

This article from the Associated Press has the details.

More documents and information on this case can be found here.



Photo Source

Last night I saw the Gougers play at the Mucky Duck.

John Egan was the opening act and played a great set. I was really impressed with his voice and style of music. I hope to catch one of his own shows one of these days.

The Gougers current lineup included Lance Smith on lead guitar and John Silva on...well on a box actually. Not just any box mind you but one of these.

This band just keeps getting better every time I hear them. I thought the last show I saw them play at the Duck was the best I ever heard them sound. But last night's performance was even better.

This time I also had the added "bonus" of hearing Shane tell the audience some Chuck Norris jokes.

They should have a new cd coming out sometime in September or October.

Until then check their schedule and go see the Gougers when they come through your town.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Breaking News: Attorney John O'Quinn Ordered to Refund $35.7 Million to Clients

An arbitration panel has ordered Houston plaintiff attorney John O'Quinn to refund $35.7 million to his former clients.

The decision is the result of a class-action lawsuit filed by former clients. In it they maintained that O'Quinn took funds from their breast implant litigation settlements for charges and fees that they had not agreed to pay.

This article from the Houston Chronicle has the details.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Holy Royal Martyrs

Photo Source

Today the Russian Orthodox Church commemorates the Holy Royal Martyrs of Russia.

More information on the Holy Royal Martyrs can be found here.

A report on this year's services at the Church on the Blood at Yekaterinburg can be found here.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Orthodox community walks to support restoration of the Monastery of the Passion Icon of the Mother of God in Moscow

From Interfax:

Orthodox community walks to support restoration of the Monastery of the Passion Icon of the Mother of God in Moscow

Moscow, July 16, Interfax - A procession and a large meeting to support restoration of the Monastery of the Passion Icon of the Mother of God at Pushkinskaya Sq. were held in Moscow last Saturday.

Near one hundred people led by a priest from the Dormition church in Putinki walked down Pushkinskaya Sq. praying for the ancient monastery to be restored.

During the meeting it was said that Moscow mayor's decision not to build a mall under the square was but the starting victory of the public will.

'Our goal is complete or at least partial rebuilding of the Monastery of the Passion Icon of the Mother of God,' the Union of the Orthodox Citizens press secretary Kirill Frolov told Interfax.

According to him, it would benefit Moscow's design too since 'Moscow's main street, Tverskaya St., had been actually destroyed during the Bolshevik "reconstruction" of our capital city so today nothing resembles of its long history and holy shrines.

'Rebuilding of the monastery, Frolov said, is therefore 'a key point of the long needed policy aiming at regeneration of Moscow's historic center.'

The action participants believe that beyond the Monastery of the Passion Icon of the Mother of God, other historic sites as monasteries of the Miracle of St. Michael the Archangel at Chonum and of Ascension in the Kremlin, the Red Gate arch, the Sukharev Tower, the church of St. Florus and St. Laurus at Myasnitskaya St., the Dog-walk Ground, a meeting-point of Moscow Slavophile Movement members.

Though the restoration of Moscow historic center is very essential, Frolov added, it is also important to pay attention at new Moscow's living areas to be constructed in accordance with the traditional Russian city-planning with Orthodox churches as city layout key points.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Court of Appeals Rules Against W.R. Grace

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against W.R. Grace in a criminal case regarding asbestos exposure in Libby, Montana.

This article from the Washington Post has the details.

The Court's Opinion can be seen here.

An earlier post on this topic can be found here.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

St. Luke’s relic venerated in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine

Photo Source

Moscow, June 11, Interfax -

Almost 1m believers venerated St. Luke the Apostle’s relic in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.

The shrine was brought to Moscow on June 9 from St. Panteleimon’s monastery on Mt. Athos and currently is in Minsk.

The St. Andrew’s Foundation that organized the bringing of the relic will convey it back to Greece on July 12.St. Like’s shrine was exposed in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kiev, Zaporozhye, Krasnoyarsk, Kemerovo, Barnaul, Elista, and Minsk.

‘The interest of the local population was great. The pilgrims often came from the neighboring countries: to Barnaul from Kazakhstan, to Minsk from Lithuania, Latvia and Poland,’ a spokesman for the St. Andrew’s Foundation told Interfax on Wednesday.

The shrine was especially appreciated by the Orthodox believers in Siberia. They have fewer churches and shrines compared to the central regions. For example, to Krasnoyarsk some pilgrims came from Dudinka, Minusinsk and other far-off corners of the gigantic region.

People waited from two to ten hours in queues even under uncomfortable weather to enter churches where the relic was exposed.

The Roman Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, and even Buddhist often joined the Orthodox in honoring the shrine.


Friday, July 06, 2007

W.R. Grace Bankruptcy in the News

Plaintiffs' attorneys are trying to speed up the bankruptcy proceedings for W.R. Grace.

This article has the details.


Travelers Settles Asbestos Claims

Travelers has reached a $449 million settlement with ACandS, Inc. over a lawsuit involving asbestos claims.

This article has more details.

The press release can be found here.


Judge Denies Merck's Motion on Vioxx Cases

The Judge overseeing all Vioxx cases in Federal Court has ruled against Merck regarding the issue of FDA approval of warning labels.

This article from Reuters has the details.

The Judge's Order can be read here.

More information on Federal Vioxx litigation can be found here.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Vladivostok-Moscow procession with the cross covers its first thousand kilometers

From Interfax:

Moscow, July 4, Interfax - The participants in the Vladivostok-Moscow procession with the cross held within the international project 'Under the Mother of God's Star' have covered the first thousand kilometers out of the planned 10,5 thousand kilometers separating the Primorye capital from the capital of Russia.

The organizers of the procession from the St. Andrew's Flag Foundation have informed Interfax on Wednesday that the procession set off on May 21 and walked for 45 days through the territory of the Primorye Region, crossing the Khabarovsk Region from south to west. At present the marcher are walking through the Jewish Autonomous Region. They cover from 30 to 40 kilometers a day.

Concurrently there is a procession with the cross from going from Yakutsk to Moscow through the dioceses of Yakutsk and Lensk. It set off in a solemn ceremony on June 30. It is the second procession held within the project 'Under the Mother of God's Star'.

In total there will be eight long processions with the cross this summer, symbolizing the eight rays of the Bethlehem star. The aim of this international project is to promote the unity of Russia's peoples.

With the blessing of Patriarch Alexy of Moscow and All Russia, the faithful are to set off from six cities in Russia - Vladivostok, Barnaul, Yakutsk, Rostov-on-the-Don, St. Petersburg and Arkhangelsk, as well as two centers of universal Orthodoxy - Jerusalem and Mount Athos. Passing through the territory of Russia the marchers will cover dozens of thousands of kilometers to converge in Moscow.

The event started on the day of the historic re-unification of the Russian Orthodox Church, when on May 17 the Act of Canonical Communion between the Churches inside and outside Russia was signed at the Church of Christ the Savior.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Independence Day

Hope everyone has a happy Fourth of July!


Monday, July 02, 2007

James Hand Live

Here is a video of James Hand performing one of his best known songs courtesy of YouTube.


James Hand

Photo Source

Last night my friend Jason and I had the privilege to hear James Hand in concert at the Mucky Duck.

I've seen him perform before with his full band but last night was a solo acoustic performance.

What an amazing performance it was!

James Hand is still the "real deal".

If you think "real" country music died out a few decades ago then you have not heard James Hand.

He played a great show last night performing several new songs that he has written for a forthcoming cd. He also played several of his older songs, along with many classics, and a few obscure gems from other classic country singers. He sang so many songs, in fact, that I can not begin to remember them all.

I am already looking forward to the next time he comes to town and to the new cd which hopefully will be out sometime next year.

You can sample some of his music here.