I recently installed tomcat 5.5 on my slicehost, and it was somewhat painful, probably because i deviated from the basic setup so much.
Anyway, one last error (in /var/log/tomcat5.5/catalina.out) that i was getting was this:
SEVERE: Error starting static Resources
java.lang.IllegalArgumentException: Document base /home/mk/public_html/ROOT does not exist or is not a readable directory
I was setting up my app context path using CATALINA_HOME/conf/Catalina/localhost/ROOT.xml and so it was strange that tomcat was looking for a directory called ROOT.
I was overlooking this warning before the error:
WARNING: A docBase /home/mk/public_html/dogself.com inside the host appBase has been specified, and will be ignored
the problem was that i set my appBase inside of /etc/tomcat5.5/conf/server.xml to be /home/mk/public_html/ and this was a parent directory of app's docBase.
Changing the appBase to /home/mk/public_html/webapps solved this problem.