"I had a less-than-bright childhood. My mom abandoned me and my four brothers when I was 10. She put me on a bus for school one morning saying she was going out of town for a couple of weeks. And she didn't come back 'til I was 18." -- Actor Chad Michael Murray ("One Tree Hill"), in Twist magazine
"With hard work, motivation and believing in yourself, really anything can happen." -- Hilary Duff, in Teen People magazine
"My good-luck charms are my baby teeth. I carry them around with me in a pouch." -- Model Heidi Klum, in InStyle.
Shameless subjects
Our neighbors to the north have come up with the perfect antidote to those screaming teen magazines. Shameless is an independent (read: liberal) magazine that, quite honestly, is not like anything you've ever seen for the teen demographic.
Don't expect pictures of celebrities, nor informational articles on how to best apply lip gloss.
Instead, Shameless, is about you. Regular features include a teen profile, called "She's Shameless"; a "Woman On the Job" profile (our favorite); "Shameless Talks," short features on a variety of topics -- one of which ( & quot;Stir It Up & quot;) gives readers an interesting column relating to food, plus a healthy recipe; and "Departments," which vary from Show-and-Tell, with poems and art by teens, to DIY, which tells you how to make paper or, intriguingly, your own underwear from T-shirts, among other things. Plus there are book, music and DVD reviews. Oh, and there's that little thing called the cover story, which usually is pretty edgy.
While the quarterly Canadian reader offers a glossy, illustrated cover, the inside is black-and-white matte pages, fitting of a magazine that takes itself and life a tad more seriously than the mags found at the grocery checkout.
Sadly, Shameless is not yet available on U.S. newsstands. But, you can read some items on their Web site at www.shamelessmag.com, and get a preview of what else the issue offers. Or, help Shameless celebrate its first anniversary by ordering a subscription via Paypal (there's a link from their site) for $22 Canadian (roughly $18 U.S.).
Darius' documentary
When Darius Weems watched his 19-year-old brother Mario lose his battle with Duchenne, a type of muscular dystrophy, it was like looking into a crystal ball. Darius, who also has this incurable genetic disease, was 10 when his brother died.
Five years later, Darius is confined to a wheelchair, having lost his ability to walk just a year after Mario died. But Darius' friends decided to take him on a cross-country road trip, starting in their hometown of Athens, Ga., and they've dubbed the trip "Darius Goes West."
While one goal is to get Darius' wheelchair "pimped" out on the West Coast, the group also has set out to create a documentary of their journey with three goals: To raise awareness of Duchenne in hopes of finding a cure or treatment; help to create a "road map" for disabled and wheelchair-bound travelers; and celebrate Darius' life with a lasting memory.
Darius Goes West has gained some support, including a donation by the Children's Wish Foundation to cover the cost of the wheelchair-accessible RV. If you'd like to help fund the trip or the documentary go to www.dariusgoeswest.com. Can't send cash? They also have a wish list of items needed for the journey (www.dariusgoeswest.com/wishlist.htm). Darius Goes West hits the road July 22 and aims to be in California by July 30. To help families like Darius', contributions can be sent to the Muscular Dystrophy Family Foundation (www.mdff.org).
Up in smoke
Tobacco companies make the funniest sitcoms. At least that's the joke on Fair Enough! (www.fairenough.com) -- 60-second, anti-smoking ads masquerading as a sitcom.
Every episode on Fair Enough!, according to the Web site, is 100 percent true and based on tobacco companies' internal documents. The way men plotted to sell cigarettes to high school kids and inner city blacks (with collectable decals and rap music, respectively) is chilling. Visitors to the Web site can download the documents that the episodes are based on if they want to read more.
Eye opening as the show/site is, episodes are too short to really make their point, and the cheesy sitcom environment distracts from the gravitas of the situation. A better idea is to read the script of each episode and let the weight of the words sink in.

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