Saturday, December 17, 2011

Jake Phoenix Continues His Online Activism

New Mexico denizen Jake Phoenix (aka ThereinLies) continues his charming online "activism" with this little love note I received this morning.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

UC Davis Pepper Spraying Officer, Lt. John Pike

Anonymous • D0X: UC Davis Pepper Spraying officer, Lt. John Pike

Lieutenant John Pike
Records Unit Manager
Phone: 530-752-3989
Cell: 530-979-0184
Address: 4005 Cowell Blvd, Apt 616. Davis, CA 95618-6017
Skype: japike3

File formal complaint against UC Davis police officer here: (pdf)

UC Davis Support Services Division
Contact Information:
Captain Joyce Souza
Monday - Friday
8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Reporting a Crime or Accident
UC Davis Police Non-Emergency Service
(530) 752-1727

UC Office of the President
Mark G. Yudof
University of California
1111 Franklin St., 12th Floor
Oakland, CA 94607
Professor at the university, Nathan Brown, wrote an “open letter” calling on Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi to resign. The entire letter boldly condemns the Chancellor for permitting riot police to handle students as police did. (source)
UC Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi
Her response to the brutality
Offices of the Chancellor and Provost
Fifth floor, Mrak Hall
University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
(530) 752-2065
Contact form:
Katehi’s Facebook page:!/pages/Linda-PB-Katehi/147754228574654

UC Davis FB Page:

His boss, UCD Police Chief Annette Spicuzza, told the Davis Enterprise that she’s “very proud” of her officers. “I don’t believe any of our officers were hurt,” she says, “and I hope none of the students were injured.” (source)

UCD Police Chief Annette Spicuzza
(530) 752-3113
Salary: $125,000/yr
Linked in:

UC Davis Police Department 
One Shields Ave.
Davis, CA  95616
(530) 752-6823
FAX: (530) 752-3216 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Power To The People

I believe the rebirth of class consciousness in the United States -- and across the world -- is one of the most important political events of my life.

I believe that this new dawning of economic awareness will inevitably lead to empowerment of those who, heretofore, have been largely shut out of the rewards system due to oligarchic greed on the part of our right-wing corporate masters, the 1%.

And I believe that part of this new dawning of consciousness will be the realization -- on the part of the working class -- that they have been egregiously and cynically betrayed by Fox News, a tool of the corporate oligarchs who, until now, have been able to hold the masses in subjugation through exploiting fear, prejudice, and hatred.

If you are part of the 1% which controls the agenda of Fox News, your days are numbered. Change soon come.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Here's the brief story of how this blog, Reality Catcher, led to my gig with Village Voice Media, first with SF Weekly, then Toke of the Town and Seattle Weekly.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Here's What The Tea Party Is REALLY Saying

"Don't Tread On Me."

Instead, tread on: the poor, the unemployed, the uninsured, the gays, the Muslims, the Hispanics, the lower/working classes, the liberals and progressives, basically, everybody but us, because we're rich and white.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Irene, Meet Biological Weapons Facility.

There are some very good reasons to hope the current predictions of Hurricane Irene weakening are true.

One of these is the fact that a U.S. government biological weapons facility, Plum Island, is in the direct path of the storm.

Note that this disquieting fact has so far escaped the attention of our mainstream media.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Washington Farmer's Market: Power To The Patients

Photo by Tony Wells

I'm convinced this is the future of medical marijuana access.

I love the Washington Farmer's Market, and what a beautiful place to hold it on the day this was filmed -- Hoodsport is a gorgeous little town.

The type of patient empowerment represented by farmer's markets like this is a beautiful thing.

Big kudos to the incredible Sarena Haskins for bringing safe access to patients who would otherwise suffer. Thanks to the rockin' Tony Wells for the video!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Forty Seconds of My Hempfest Speech

SAM_0507 a video by finkmoney on Flickr.

Thanks to finkmonkey for the footage!

Monday, August 15, 2011

OK, Now I'm Impressed.

Michele Bachmann eats a foot-long corn dog at the Iowa State Fair... her masterful technique is undeniably a thing of terrible beauty.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

This Bong Hit's For You, China.

The People's Republic of China had never really done anything for me until this week.

But then, man oh man, did they make up for lost time!

They refused to do the binding on my upcoming cannabis book, The Little Black Book of Marijuana, thus starting a tsunami of publicity that money couldn't have bought for the tome.

Thank you, China!

The Atlantic Wire: Chinese Censors Prohibit Printing of U.S. Pot Writer's Book

Seattle Weekly: China Censors Seattle Weekly Columnist Steve Elliott's New Book, Throwing Off Worldwide Distribution By Weeks

The Weed Blog: China Censors The Printing Of Marijuana Activist Steve Elliott's New Book

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Little Black Book of Marijuana Rises 600,000 Spots Overnight At Amazon

I'll take it as a good sign that my book The Little Black Book of Marijuana: The Essential Guide to Cannabis, which prints Monday, August 1, 2011, rose 649,000 spots on Amazon's rankings overnight.

(First screen shot above, taken the night of July 30; second screen shot taken the morning of July 31.)

The book ranked #692,613 on July 30, and had risen to #43,694 on July 31.

Grab it at Amazon, at, or at your favorite local independent bookstore -- it's available worldwide. If they don't have it, they can get it!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Y'all Gotta See My New Checks

I'm not a check-using person. Normally, I conduct all my banking online. But since the IRS isn't into that type of thing, I was forced to cough up 40 bucks or so to buy a batch of the old-fashioned, paper kind.

So, I think, "Hell. Might as well get some cool ones."

Oh, about that "So many weeds, so little time" slogan. They offered a whole slew of slogans to choose from, divided up into categories. So I went straight (OK, I went stoned) to the "Gardening" section and found that one, supposedly intended for the "pulling weeds OUT of my garden" variety of gardener instead of the "planting weed IN my garden" variety...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Six Weeks Until 'The Little Black Book of Marijuana'

Little Black Book of Marijuana - Peter Pauper 2011 catalog

My book, The Little Black Book of Marijuana: The Essential Guide to the World of Cannabis is coming out in August.

As listed in the current catalog of Peter Pauper Press:

This concise guide to cannabis provides the essentials of cultivating, using, and cooking with weed; identifying the many varieties of pot; and understanding legal and health issues. This Little Black Book also delves into pot culture and history, from Herodotus to the hippies, from the rise of the medical marijuana movement to decriminalization. Includes full-color photographs of marijuana varieties. Steve Elliott is a journalist and editor of the Village Voice Media blog Toke of the Town: Cannabis Culture News and Views.

What I have to add to that is that, given the size constraint of 20,000 words, I packed in as much cannabis lore as I possibly could! And had a great time doing it.

You can pre-order The Little Black Book of Marijuana at Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble, and just about every major retailer, as well as at your local independent bookstore.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Toke of the Town and My Opinions

  • Soccermanic12990 Today 12:57 PM
    "Why should they care if you pursue one method of treatment -- a natural, non-toxic herb -- over harsh pharmaceuticals?",
    I love the articles TOT has on their front page, but its the unnecessary added opinions that make this stuff comparable to Fox news. Yes, marijuana is on the whole rather safe. Yes, some pharmas have harsh side effects. But please, report the news and not your opinions. Ill rely on Fox and the like when I want my daily dose of subjective journalism.
  • Soccermanic, let's look at the top of this webpage together.

    There -- right under where it says "TOKE OF THE TOWN," there's something I want you to see.

    Right after where it says "Cannabis Culture News," there are two more words -- I can hardly make them out, and I guess you couldn't see them either.

    Here, let me squint real hard and see if I can read them -- YES!!

    "and Views"! those are the words!

    "Cannabis Culture News AND VIEWS"!!!!!!!

    Do you know what "Views" are? Yeah -- those are also known as OPINIONS!

    Oh, and "Thanks for your input."

Toke of the Town: American Express Classifies Medical Marijuana With Online Porn

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cannabis March and Rally in Seattle Saturday, May 14

Cannabis Freedom March 2011


This Saturday, May 14

Rally and March from Volunteer Park to Westlake Park

Live music, speakers, and activism in motion.

It will begin with a rally at Volunteer Park at 11 a.m., with live music until noon followed by speakers from noon unti 1 p.m.

The march itself will begin at 1 p.m. at Volunteer Park marching to Westlake Park and arriving at 2 p.m.

At Westlake the rally will continue with speakers from 2-3:30 p.m. then more live music from 3:30-5 p.m.

Please join us in ending the prohibition against cannabis.

For more information:


call: 206 618 6458



Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Coming In August: The Little Black Book of Marijuana

My book, The Little Black Book of Marijuana, is scheduled to be released in August by Peter Pauper Press in New York.

The book is basically the history of cannabis condensed down into 20,000 words. Yeah, I know! But when I get a chance to bring the truth to the masses, I take it -- even if the truth has to be concentrated down into its essence like hash oil.

Some things just can't be concentrated any farther, so in the cultivation chapter, for instance, I basically just handed off the ball to Rosenthal and Cervantes. You do what you gotta do.

A big thanks to photographers Linda Finkle of Seattle and Kym Kemp of San Francisco for their excellent bud and plant shots!

Watch for it at your favorite local bookstore, or get it on Amazon or other online retailers.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Happy 71st Birthday to Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead

Lesh is More.

That simple saying, popular among Grateful Dead fans who idolize bassist Phil Lesh, is true on multiple levels.

Phil was never content to be "just" a rhythm-keeping bassist, preferring instead, like the rest of the band, to engage in sonic explorations that had much to do with the wondrous and little to do with the obvious.

Phillip Chapman Lesh was born March 15, 1940, in Berkeley, California.

Happy 71st birthday, Phil!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Lord Byron's Birthday: So We'll Go No More a-Roving

George Gordon, Lord Byron, born on January 22, 1788, led a dissipated life. In his day, Romantic Poets such as himself lived like rock stars -- cutting a wide swath through polite society and robbing many women and men of their innocence along the way (but giving them some good memories in the process).

He was as famous in his lifetime for his personality cult as for his poetry. He created the concept of the "Byronic hero" -- a defiant, brooding young man, tortured by some darkly mysterious, unforgivable event in his past.

"So We'll Go No More a-Roving" hangs heavy with the poignancy of parties past, memories still glowing with the recollection of youth but slowly fading away.

Only a libertine like Byron could have struck a note this elegaic and final when he was still in his thirties. He knew, even as he lived it, that his intense accelerated lifestyle would lead to an early demise.

He died at the age of 36 and left a legend -- and poetry -- that will live forever.

Happy birthday, Lord Byron!

So We'll Go No More a-Roving

So we'll go no more a-roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart still be as loving,
And the moon still be as bright.
For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul outwears the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And love itself have rest.
Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon,
Yet we'll go no more a-roving
By the light of the moon.


When We Two Parted

When we two parted
In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning
Sunk chill on my brow—
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame:
I hear thy name spoken,
And share in its shame.

They name thee before me,
A knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o'er me—
Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee,
Who knew thee too well:
Long, long shall I rue thee,
Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met—
In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?
With silence and tears.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Phil Mocek 1, TSA 0: Not Guilty For Refusing To Show ID

Phil Mocek in an Albuquerque courtroom this week.
Phil Mocek in an Albuquerque courtroom this week.

An Albuquerque jury handed down a not guilty verdict for my friend Phil Mocek of Seattle, who refused to show his ID to TSA officers at the Albuquerque Sunport.

Phil was arrested in late 2009 after he wouldn't show his ID, and then used a camera to videotape an altercation with TSA officers, reports Charlie Pabst at

He was facing several charges, including failure to obey an officer and concealing his identity, but the jury found him not guilty on all four counts.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Where Are You, Dean Latimer? Thanks For Everything

Back in 1977 when I started smoking marijuana, one of the first "stoner" things I did was start reading High Times magazine -- which was a lot different back in the day than it is now (more of a "lifestyle" magazine then than a grow book).

And one of the first great writers I discovered within those wonderful pages was the estimable Dean Latimer, with his street-smart attitude and hard-bitten reporter's instincts, his eternal skepticism when confronted with official pronouncements and his healthy disdain for authority.

Latimer, who started out in the late 1960s with the Screw-like Kiss magazine (this was before the rock band), made a name for himself in the early '70s at National Lampoon before moving to High Times. He had it goin' on.

"I wanna be able to write like this guy," my 17-year-old self thought.

Latimer's words refused to just sit there on the glossy pages of High Times.

They sang, in a way that words can do sometimes when they are shot through with the resonance of a life well-lived, with a rich repository of earthly experience, with a seasoned but eternally fresh viewpoint that makes no wimpy compromises, brooks no interference in its intrepid search for truth, cowers before no sacred cows, respects no undeserving authority.

When I read Dean Latimer, I believed in the possibility of knowledge winning over ignorance, of reason prevailing over silliness, of truth triumphing over deception.

Yes, Latimer -- although he never knew it -- was a major motivator for me to pursue journalism and polish up my writing chops.

And although I feel I've never scaled the heights of an on-his-game Latimer, I do credit the guy for a big chunk of the "tone" that is present in my writing to this day.

Dean has vanished, perhaps somewhat mysteriously, as far as I know. After the 1980s, his appearances in High Times became less frequent, and they never found a comparable dude to replace him.

Dean co-wrote one book, Flowers In The Blood: The Story Of Opium (1981) along with Jeff Goldberg. It is, sadly, now out of print. Amazon says he also wrote the 1999 tome How To Pass A Drug Test: High Times Guide.

The only two real examples of Latimer's writing that I was able to find online are, first of all, "Inside Dope: Raising Appalachia," a High Times piece which appears to come from June 2002, which is actually a long time after I thought he'd stopped appearing in the magazine.

Secondly, I found a great article Dean wrote for Penthouse magazine in 1974, when he was at the height of his powers. It's a real gem, and it's called "Who Is Guru Maharaj Ji And Why Is He Saying All These Terrible Things About God?"
It was doomed to be so. The teenaged Guru is everywhere chaperoned by his businesslike brother, Bal Bhagwan Ji, and his formidable mother Mata Ji, and their image resembles an Oriental Osmond Family. Donny and the Guru have about the same number and intellectual quality of fans, in fact, except that the Guru's are 10 to 15 years older, and they have babies whom they name after the Holy Family. The Guru's family, in brief, is at once exotic enough in appearance and address, and yet bourgeois enough in structure, to appeal irresistibly to the spiritually insecure millions of the West. Unhappily, his commerce with his Eastern homeland is nowhere near so fortuitous.

What a rush of memory and emotion it is to read Dean's words again.

It's very sad to me that a writer the caliber of Latimer has been largely forgotten by the world in this digital age -- so much so, that I was unable to Google up a photo of him.

According to, there are seven people with the name Dean Latimer living in the United States, but none of them is anywhere near New York City, so they probably aren't the Dean I remember.

I don't even know if Latimer is still among the living, but, Dean, if you're out there, THANK YOU.

And if anyone else, anywhere, knows what became of Mr. Latimer, please let me know.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

All Together Now: A Marijuana Garden Is Not A 'Lab'

In an embarrassing display of Bad Journalism, the Miami New Times, one of the sister Village Voice Media blogs of my paying gig, Toke of the Town, has called marijuana gardens "labs."

That's right. Growing God's green plants from the earth now pretty much equals cooking up meth, boys and girls!

"Oh, it's just semantics," one of my friends said. Well... when "semantics" is used to justify locking people in cages for decades (you can get a life sentence for growing pot), then "semantics" becomes a problem.

I thought it was bad enough this week when a couple of yokel media outlets in my home state of Alabama called a marijuana grow room a "lab"... but to get this kind of fathomless stupidity from a supposedly "alternative weekly" just rankles.

Deeply clueless reporter Francisco Alvarado, in "Top Five Florida 420 Busts in 2010," a December 30, 2010 story in the Miami New Times helpfully tells us:

"Marijuana production is at an all-time high in Florida and so are grow house busts. The local, state and federal law enforcement weed eradication program has seen a 50 percent spike in the number of grow labs [emphasis added] in less than four years."

And now, having unbecomingly fallen for a simple-minded yet deceptive cop turn of phrase, he digs the hole deeper:

"It's easy pickings for Johnny Law when you think about it. Growers are stoners. They concoct hair[sic]-brained schemes to build impregnable Kush farms over multiple bowls of Fruit Loops after smoking some Super Lemon Haze."

Hey Francisco, why don't you just let the cops write the story for you? Way to reinforce 1970s pot stereotypes, man. Just so you know, we stoners enjoy those about as much as you must love colorful, "witty" Hispanic slurs.

So here's my comment to Francisco, made on the page of his trashy little article:

Francisco, marijuana gardens are not "labs."

This Orwellian phrase -- which tries to turn growing plants into something sinister and dangerous -- is not only dumb, it's just bad journalism. Quoting a cop calling a marijuana grow operation a "lab" is one thing.

But doing it yourself? That makes me doubt everything in your story.

As if THAT wasn't bad enough, you helpfully tell us that "growers are stoners" and imply that means they are too stupid to avoid getting busted.

Are you aware that most growers are never caught?

Unlike sloppy journalists, who get called on their very public mistakes.

Monday, January 3, 2011