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The dearly beloved of John Waters

The Baltimore Sun

Two people who've made great careers out of Baltimore's dark side - best-selling mystery novelist Laura Lippman and Wire creator David Simon - chose a third for their preacher when they tied the knot. The Rev. John Waters presided.

It wasn't the first time that the director, who stars as The Groom Reaper in a Court TV show about marriages gone murderously wrong, has officiated at a wedding.

"I've done it 13 times, and only one couple's been divorced," Waters said.

Pretty good track record, considering that so many marriages end in divorce - and that Waters got into the wedding biz for one that never even happened. While filming his 1990 musical Cry-Baby, Waters was asked to unite Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder.

"Johnny Depp's lawyers had me ordained," a process that involved sending off a small sum - "I think $22" - to the Universal Life Church.

"It's a mail-order church, the kind I believe in," Waters said. "It's not a judgmental religion, I promise you."

The Depp-Ryder union never happened, but "since I have the power, I continue to do it," Waters said. "I've never done a gay wedding, only done straight ones. ... I charge $7, and you have to have exact change, and I record it on my income tax."

But only for really good friends, so if you're not, don't ask.

And don't ask whom Waters has hitched, because he's not telling. Waters declined to confirm his role in the Lippman-Simon nuptials. Lippman also declined to comment.

But I have it on good authority - a Baltimore City marriage license dated Oct. 3 - that the "Pope of Trash" presided.

Irreverent persona aside, Waters said his marriage-making isn't just a joke.

"I took it seriously," he said. "I even counseled the couples."

He has also performed one baptism and at least one exorcism, though he shies away from that term.

"We don't call it that," he said. "I call it advice."

Baltimore ... Maryland ... Bourbon Street?

Apparently I'm not the only one who wants to get William Donald Schaefer a job. Since I wrote about how much the ex-mayor/ex-governor/ex-comptroller hates retirement, I've heard from lots of people who'd like to put him to work.

Sandra Nolen, a former state employee, thinks Schaefer needs a blog.

On? All the things he's an undisputed expert in: running city and state governments, capturing public attention and (until this last one) winning elections.

Roy Joyner, president of a Sons of Italy Lodge, has an auctioneering gig for him.

"My lodge has a [fundraiser] every year, and we use Judge [Edward] Angeletti as our auctioneer, but he will be in Italy in May," he wrote. "Turnout is around 60 people. Do you think he would do this?"

Former Del. Jake Mohorovic of Dundalk has three suggestions: Volunteer at a nursing home, perhaps the one right near Schaefer's Canton office; do guest speaking on politics and government at Maryland colleges; run for state Senate.

Claire Albert of Columbia, who says her mother, Llewellyn Albert, was Schaefer's secretary when he was a city councilman, thinks he should take up for endangered historic sites.

"Baltimore City needs someone of his stature, experience and energy to get involved with preserving its historic buildings," she writes. "It seems every time I pick up the paper, some important historic building is being demolished in the name of progress."

Matilda Falck of Pikesville is thinking bigger than that - Big Easy big. She figures that the guy who presided over the rebirth of Baltimore's Inner Harbor could work his magic on a new city: New Orleans.

"I read and see how things are not getting done there," she said. "He's a mayor in need of a city, and New Orleans is a city in need of a mayor."

I ran some of those suggestions by Schaefer the other day. His responses ranged from "What's a blog?" to "Charlie Ecker," the Carroll County schools superintendent who, according to Schaefer, is a gifted amateur auctioneer.

The one suggestion that really piqued Schaefer's interest: rebuilding New Orleans.

"God, I would love that," he said. "There's so much to do."

Connect the dots

You know "literally" has lost its literal meaning when Hillary Clinton says this about Barbara Mikulski: "She has literally paved the way for me and countless other women who now serve in the Congress." What makes the statement, made after Mikulski endorsed Clinton for president last week, odder still: The Maryland senator launched her political career by fighting literal paving - in the form of a highway project. ... Who was that guy right behind John McCain on the podium in New Hampshire, where he announced for president last week? It was former Baltimore County Del. Don Murphy, the senator's Maryland campaign coordinator. ... With the right to vote restored to Maryland felons, the way seems clear for Ed Norris to run for Baltimore mayor. Is the ex-con/ex-commish thinking about it? Norris didn't return my call, but he said on his WHFS show that people have been asking him about it. ...

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