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    Mary-Kate & Ashley: Jailbait No More

    As of this Sunday, June 13, wonder twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are legal adults. The girls will be able to vote and buy cigarettes. Their 18th birthdays also mark the end of an era for the Olsen Twins Countdown Clocks, the Internet sites devoted to tracking the years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds until the former Full House-rs come of age.

    The countdown clock fad began when the twins hit their mid-teens and transformed from tween phenoms to legitimately hot celebrity babes.

    Deejays Lex & Terry, a morning drive-time team based out of Jacksonville, Florida, have been using the twins', uh, flowering as a "running gag" for four years, and have been running an online Olsen Twins Countdown Clock for three. After yakking about the twins--who graduated from the Campbell Hall School in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley just days ago--for so long, Lex & Terry are celebrating Mary-Kate and Ashley's 18th birthdays in Las Vegas.

    The twins will presumably not be in attendance--their reps remain tight-lipped on exactly what the duo will be doing to celebrate (our guess: counting the estimated $300 million that will be transferred into their bank accounts)--but Lex & Terry's publicist, Peter Welpton, says certain top-secret friends of the Olsens will be doing phone interviews.

    Bob Saget and Dave Coulier wouldn't dream of betraying the girls to morning deejays--or would they?--and John Stamos, their erstwhile Uncle Jesse, is probably busy shooting his new sitcom, so among Full House alums that leaves...Candice Cameron Bure?

    The twins, who are heading to New York University in the fall, told E! Online that the clocks "come with the territory...of just being a girl." (Or, more precisely, being girls whose wildly profitable brand name extends to everything from feature films like New York Minute to toothpaste to a Martha Stewart Living-esque lifestyle magazine.)

    But what inspired so many Internet geeks in the first place? Why would someone digitize every second that stands between them and a date with the world's most famous twins?

    Chase Brown, a Honolulu-based adult Website entrepreneur, says, "I think I read on a BBS or heard from someone how the Olsen twins were going to be legal in a few years, and what would happen then, would they be in Playboy, do porn, etc. So, I figured why not countdown the exact day until they're legal, that way everyone can speculate what will happen when the day comes." Sorry, dude, but with hundreds of millions in the bank, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen will probably never have to take their clothes off professionally.

    So what happens now? Will crowds of computer-literate Olsen fans come out of the woodwork, ready to being courting the girls in earnest? What's to become of these infamous corners of the Web that share a place in Internet history along with Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf and the Hamster Dance?

    "When they turn 18, I will do the dance of crap, because there goes a lot of good traffic," says Brown. He's already surveyed his users to find out which other underage celebs are worth counting down. The verdict? Hilary Duff. Her countdown clock is coming soon. (She currently has about one year, three months and 17 days to go.)

    Perhaps the clockmasters could just reset the counters to another milestone? "I have had people suggest other ages: 21 (drinking), 25 (cheaper car insurance), 35 (run for President), 55 (discounts at Denny's). I hate to admit it, but after they turn 18, I believe much of their fascination will fade away. Then they are just two legal rich twins. Unless one gets caught in a sexual video tape incident, I do not see much coverage on them anymore," says Bill Doty, editor of the Website brokennewz and host of a Olsen clock.

    "Armitage Shanks," an Irish Web developer who declares "Ashley-Kate" to be his favorite, thinks he might "start a betting agency on when they get their first boob job or divorce."

    But Chase has hope for the future of the Olsens: "I think in 10 years they will still be in the limelight in one way or another. They have been famous their whole lives, so it's obvious that they aren't going to just disappear like a lot of other flavor-of-the-week celebrities. Plus, they have a ton of money, so if worse comes to worse they can buy their own island or something and turn it into an Olsen Twins amusement park."

    And until then, happy 18th birthday, Mary-Kate and Ashley.

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