Llewellyn King's Notebook: Tale of many weddings; obscene executive pay; Electronicsville


I have been to some amazing weddings. My own (three) have been quite modest, but I have been to some that were extraordinary bashes, with brides in designer gowns and grooms who looked as though they were dressed by Savile Row, and indeed some were.

I have been to Virginia Hunt Country weddings where you would think it was the horses who were getting married, and Irish weddings where you would think the celebrants would all need first responders' help in getting home.

I even can claim, sort of, a royal wedding. In 1960, I helped cover the marriage of Princess Margaret and Anthony Armstrong-Jones in Westminster Abbey. I got a few paragraphs in a major London newspaper and thought I had arrived. In reality, I was on a ferry on the Thames and nowhere near the actual wedding: My job was to report on the crowds waiting for the Royal Yacht to take the newlyweds on honeymoon. All that, it turns out was prelude to the main event.

Last month I went to the wedding of weddings, the nuptials extraordinaire in my book. It topped all the others not in grandeur, but in infectious joy. It was the joining together, as they say, of Hannah Tessitore and Jarrod Hazelton, and I was inside enjoying really good red wine and Beef Wellington, not outside on a boat on a cold London day. These were royals of a kind, more so, methinks.

It all happened in the Rhode Island Yacht Club, an auspicious place, jutting out into upper Narraganset Bay,  almost  surrounded  by water and with resident swans, although I did not notice them being more or less celebratory than usual. Swans are tricky that way.

It was the meeting of a  family, hers that's partly Italian and his a mixture of English and German, via South America. Hannah is one of the most gifted people I have worked with. She is a producer on my television show and a quite fabulous Web designer. Jarrod is an economist and polymath; one of those people who seems to know more about everything than you do. This coupled with sardonic wit makes him awesome in a nonthreatening way.

I love their love story. They did not meet on a blind date, nor through a computer site, nor were they neighbors. They met -- Cupid is an imaginative fellow -- in line at an ATM. And I thought that those things just dispensed money.

As Noel Coward said in a song, “I’ve been to a marvelous party.”

Executive Pay: How High the Moon?

When I leaned that an executive at Enron was making $80 million, I told the chairman, a friend, Ken Lay, “Ken, you can get very good help for just $20 million.”

This comes to mind when I read that a near friend (a lot of those in journalism, where you are friendly but in a circumscribed way) has just had his salary raised to $15 million. Nice work if you can get it, but the board should have said no. The unions should have pounced and the customers should turn away.

Excessive executive pay is one of the things that contributes to the sense that most of us are doomed wage-wise, while the precious few are elevated above reason to a place where their compensation distorts the national well-being.

Years ago, before the nation became so inured to the C-suite ripoffs, the conservative columnist George Will said the executive compensation of the heads of public companies had reached a point where these lucky few were “taking,” not earning, their huge wealth. Quite so. It is enough to make a chap sing “La Marseillaise” in the bath.

How We Live Now: Life in Electronicsville

I read a lot of books, though not as many as I would like. I read so damn slowly. My wife, Linda Gasparello, tears up the typographical turnpike at an impressive clip, while I stay close to the curb.

Using a Kindle, I do find I get through more books. It is a clunky devise that needs refinement, but it is so portable. I am reading more books because I always have the gadget with me -- on a bus, plane or train, at the barbershop, while waiting for a friend at a restaurant.

The trouble is you do not have a book afterward, and you have really only rented one. No book to hand on, to grace your shelves. Also, to my shame, I can count the jobs lost when a book comes electronically and not physically: the typesetter, the printer, the binder, the trucker, the warehouse worker and the sales clerk. It is shameful, it is the future and it is me, circa 2017.

Llewellyn King, a frequent contributor to New England Diary, is host and executive producer of White House Chronicle, on PBS.