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Two-By-Two: A List of Twins

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Adam Sandler’s new movie, “Jack and Jill,” has me thinking about famous twins. It’s amazing how many there are. This List could easily have been doubled.

LUKE SKYWALKER & PRINCESS LEIA

Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are fictional twin royalty. Their family ties were at the heart of the “Star Wars” mythos, first providing a nice plot twist and then fueling the emotional arc of the main characters.

THE WINKLEVOSS TWINS

You have to give Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss credit for tenacity. First they were (at the very least) outmaneuvered by Mark Zuckerberg for control of Facebook. Then their various lawsuits went nowhere. Then they came off looking less than sympathetic in “The Social Network.” Yet they still held their heads high and got a pistachio commercial.

“THE PARENT TRAP” TWINS

No offense to Lindsay Lohan’s legion of fans, but I prefer the 1961 version of “The Parent Trap,” with Hayley Mills. The craziness of this movie slaps you in the face when you sit there and realize how screwed up the parents are. They each take a twin in the divorce and NEVER TELL THEM. Wow.

THE MINNESOTA TWINS

Named after the Twin Cities, baseball’s Twins began playing in Minneapolis in 1961. This may sound odd, but the thing I kind of loved about them was that their home field for many years had a right field extension wall made of plastic. Everyone called it the “Baggie.”

THE BUSH TWINS

Barbara and Jenna, the daughters of former President George W. Bush, turn 30 later this month, on Nov 25. I think they, like all presidential children, deserve a lifetime of peace, quiet and dignity.

EVIL TWINS

Evil twins are just plain fun. There’s no pretense; it’s simply a group of creative people telling an audience: “We’re taking one of our boring, nice characters and letting her raise some hell. Possibly while wearing a dark wig.” My favorite was Serena, Elizabeth Montgomery’s evil twin on TV’s “Bewitched.”

DOMINICK AND THOMAS BIRDSEY

Connecticut’s own Wally Lamb put twins at the center of his novel, “I Know This Much Is True.” I won’t ruin the plot here for people who want to read this masterful work, but I will say it put the lie to any notion that New Englanders lead boring lives.

THE WONDER TWINS

Let’s see. You’ve got a group of superheroes called the Super Friends, with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman. What’s missing? Bingo! A twin brother and sister who can only activate their powers when they touch hands. Thanks, Zan and Jayna. Problem solved.

TIKI & RONDE BARBER

The Barbers were highly enjoyable players to watch, even if Tiki did get a little mouthy about his former teammates after he left the New York Giants. Seeing him and Ronde in opposing uniforms had a way of looking like a promo for a sci-fi movie about cloned athletes.

THE OLSEN TWINS

They make the List for two reasons. One, they were hugely popular from the time they were TV toddlers on “Full House.” And two, their success always baffled me.

ROMULUS & REMUS

Fittingly, the story of Romulus and Remus is like two myths in one. First is the miracle of their survival. They were left to die as infants, only to be nursed by a she-wolf and then adopted by a shepherd. As adults, they discovered they were royalty. So they retake their land in ancient Italy – only to fight over where to build a new city. Remus is killed; Romulus builds the new city and calls it Rome. That’s harsh, man.

THE BOBBSEY TWINS

One set of twins wasn’t enough for this long-running series of children’s books. There were two duos: Nan and Bert, and Freddie and Flossie. They had adventures and solved mysteries, all very mild, in such ripping yarns as “The Bobbsey Twins at the Seashore,” and “The Bobbsey Twins at School.” Call me when “The Bobbsey Twins Change Their Smartphone Plan” is published.

THE DOUBLEMINT TWINS

The folks at the Wrigley Company have kept twins gainfully employed as spokeswomen for years. Their ranks include future TV stars Tia and Tamera Mowry and Jean and Elizabeth Sagal, sisters of the terrific actress Katey Sagal.

THE TWIN TOWERS

Ten years on, I still experience very strong, very complicated emotions when I see a photo or film clip of the towers. You do, too.

Peace out.

Baseball Nicknames You Want to Avoid

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Baseball’s Fall Classic is upon us, which means we have to savor each clutch hit, double play and close call at the plate that remains in the season. While we’re at it, let’s also be happy that none of our favorite players is saddled with one of these nicknames:

CAPTAIN KLUTZ

STAN THE YAM

MR. OCTOBERFEST

THE BIG HURL

FAT REGIS

STAMMERIN’ STEVE

TOOTHLESS JOE

THE SULTAN OF SWISH

MILD THING

TOM HORRIFIC

THE SPLENDID SPHINCTER

THE BIG EUNUCH

THE SAD HUNGARIAN

CHARLIE HUSTLER

THE CRYIN’ HAWAIIAN

WILL THE SHRILL

Here’s hoping for a great series.

A Dozen Great “Greens”

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In honor of the new Green Lantern movie, here’s a tip of the cap to 12 people, places and things as cool as their emerald hue. Red and blue may get most of the attention, black may be more sophisticated and green itself may have had its name co-opted by the environmental movement, but these 12 are evergreens.

JOLLY GREEN GIANT

Aside from Mr. Clean, what fictional product spokesman is as ominously cool as the J.G. Giant? He barely speaks, we mainly only see his hands, AND we were willing to buy corn from him for years that didn’t even look like real corn!

MOE GREEN

For those unfamiliar with “The Godfather,” Moe is a Vegas casino owner who unwisely rebuffs Michael Corleone’s business offer. Not a week goes by among my circle of friends without at least one Moe Green reference. It’s great shorthand for misplaced indignation. Poor Moe.

NEW HAVEN GREEN

There are centuries of history here, but that’s not why I love the Green. I’ve sat here on a blanket with my wife and listened to music; started and finished road races; met friends for bike rides; strolled past before dinners and after bar hopping; attended more rallies than I can count. Life happens on this Green.

GREEN ONIONS

God bless Booker T & the MGs, and that Hammond organ.

HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY

John Ford’s 1941 film is wonderful, but Richard Llewellyn’s book is a rich, soulful look at family, fate, love and hard work in a coal mining village in Wales. I’m a sucker for that stuff.

SETH GREEN

So jealous of this kid. Not only is he part of “Family Guy” and “Robot Chicken,” but he’s been in some of my favorite “Austin Powers” scenes.

GREEN LANTERN

Don’t know if the new movie is any good, but the Hal Jordan of the 1960s and ’70s was super good. I always got a kick out of the fact that he could manifest near-limitless energy into anything he wanted, and he often chose a huge, green boxing glove. Dumb as it sounds, that’s EXACTLY what most guys would do.

THE BIG GREEN MONSTER

I don’t have a horse in the whole Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, being a National League guy, but I have a healthy respect for any ballpark willing to replicate the exciting ricochets my friends and I experienced playing Wiffle Ball next to my parents’ house. There always has to be a Fenway Park.

SYDNEY GREENSTREET

Before there was the Kingpin, before there was Jabba the Hutt, there was Sydney Greenstreet. His voice was like molasses poured on sandpaper. Here’s a scene from a relatively minor work, 1948’s “The Woman in White.”

WINNING THE GREEN JACKET AT THE MASTERS

It’s the ugliest jacket everyone wants to have. I can’t think of a better way to honor it than to show the finish of the 1986 Masters.

SOYLENT GREEN

I forget – what is Soylent Green, again?

IT’S NOT EASY BEING GREEN

Not easy at all; not easy at all.


7 Odd Men Out

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It’s got to be a little maddening, being the odd man out. You know, the person hanging around in the background who seems slightly out of place? Sure, we’ve all felt that way at times ourselves. But some guys take it to an entirely different level. Here’s my Mount Rushmore of Odd Men Out.

ZEPPO MARX

You mean to tell me they couldn’t toss this guy ONE decent gimmick? Harpo gets the blonde curly wig and doesn’t talk, Chico has the thick accent, Groucho’s working the glasses and greasepaint mustache, and Zeppo gets zippo? He should have at least asked for an eye patch.

SHEMP HOWARD


It’s not his fault that he’ll forever be compared with Curly, the greatest of the Three Stooges – but it is his fate. He’s essentially a bulkier, less angry version of Moe, and who wants that? Rule of thumb when buying a “best of” Stooges DVD: always check for Shemps.

STAR TREK REDSHIRTS

Classic, classic odd men out. Any redshirt beaming down to a planet with Kirk and Spock was asking for a phaser to the thorax before the first commercial. Don’t phase me, bro!

COOPER MANNING


By all accounts, a decent, gracious, inspiring human being, the older brother of Peyton and Eli Manning and son of Archie Manning also is an odd man out. He’s the only guy in his family who’s never been a starting quarterback in the NFL. What he HAS done is overcome a spinal problem that ended his football career in college.

GODFATHER III

You WANT to like it. You really WANT to. But do you? Come back to us, Don Corleone.

HARRY STEINFELDT

You’ve heard of  Tinker to Evers to Chance, the legendary Chicago Cubs double-play combination from the early 1900s? Well, Harry Steinfeldt was the Cubs infielder who wasn’t Tinker, Evers or Chance. He played third base.

JUSTIN BARTHA

Here’s our newest member. He’s the dude standing in the background of this photo who went AWOL during the first “Hangover” movie. Do they bring him back for the sequel? Yes. Do they let him join in all the raunchy mayhem? I think you know the answer.