Your RDA of Irony

On This Day in 1543 and 1992

Henry VIII and I share a wedding anniversary. Of course, everyone could say that. In my case, the date of Henry’s marrage to Katherine Parr coincides with my marriage to Karen.

We should also consider my other remarkable similarities to Mr. Tudor. Both Henry and I are equally plausible as the head of the Church of England. Henry had syphillis; I certainly tried to–but during the Sexual Revolution I must have been classified as 4-F. Henry had a brother-in-law beheaded; that is on my to-do list.

But how can we compare Katherine Parr and Karen Finerman? They are equally entitled to your pity.

Happy Anniversary to my noble martyr and lovely wife.

and now more about the other bride

 Katherine Parr Borough Neville Tudor Seymour

In choosing Katherine Parr as his sixth wife, Henry VIII made a very sensible choice. By 1543 Henry’s libido was a subject of nostalgia. Her family was established but staid English gentry: no social-climbing Boleyns or power-mad Howards. And her resume was impeccable: she was a virtuous, affable woman who made of a career of being a wife.

Henry was her third husband. In her first marriage, she was a bride at 15 and a childless widow at 19. Apparently infertile and definitely unlucky, the widow was not considered a great catch, But her family found someone. At 21, she was married off to a man twice her age; he basically needed a nurse. (She was his third wife, and his first two marriages had produced an adequate number of children.) At 31, she was a widow again, but with a comfortable income. (Her stepchildren didn’t quibble over her allowance; she really was a nice person.)

Now the wealthy widow was being pursued by a handsome adventurer, Thomas Seymour. Seymour was the brother of the late Queen Jane Seymour and had stayed in the favor of his mercurial royal brother-in-law. However, that same brother-in-law also wanted a wife. Having the soul of a pimp, Thomas encouraged Henry’s interest in Katherine Parr; after all, she would be an even richer widow as Mrs. Tudor. So Katherine once again was a married nurse, dealing with the obese, gout-strickened Henry. However she wasn’t that good a nurse; Henry died four years later in 1547.

Now Katherine could finally have a handsome virile husband. And Mrs. Thomas Seymour died as the result of it in 1548: childbirth.

  1. Steve Katz says:

    Happy Anniversary to you and Karen. And, you both are much more distinguished than Henry VIII and Katherine Parr ever were. I know for a fact that Henry did not have a blog.

    • Eugene Finerman says:

      Thank you, Steve, but I am not sure if I am really more distinguished than Mr. Tudor. From a very safe distance, I can say that he was an excellent king. Remember, you can be a rotten human being but a great ruler; indeed, the former may be a prerequisite for the latter.

      It is also dismaying to realize that I have now outlived Henry VIII.

      In any case, thanks again.


  2. Bob Kincaid says:

    Happy Anniversary to you both, Eugene and Karen. Let us all hoist a scoopy of our favorite Edy’s in your honor.

  3. Eugene Finerman says:

    Thank you. Make that a scoop for Karen and a pint for me. In our freezer, our Edy’s collection offers coffee, mint chip, chocolate chunk fudge, and Mud Pie (which is coffee ice cream with Oreos).


  4. Eugene Finerman says:

    Hey, about some more anniversary congratulations? I am trying to impress my wife with the character and quality of my readers. (In other words, please lie for me!)


  5. Maura Cullen says:

    Happy Anniversary to you both, have a wonderful day.

    • Eugene Finerman says:

      Thank you, Maura. You are either very kind or very easy to intimidate; whichever, Karen and I are grateful.


  6. Rich Greb says:

    Since I’ve finally gotten around to reading this latest in your superbly entertaining series of blog entries, we, too, offer a major mazeltov, particularly since the two of you have made it far more years than Henry and Katherine did.

    • Eugene Finerman says:

      Thank you, Rich.

      However, Karen and I have not yet matched Henry and Catherine of Aragon. They were married for 24 years. What was the appropriate gift for their last anniversary: a religious schism?


  7. Kate says:

    Eugene: Happy anniv to you and Karen. May the virtuous and affable Karen make a career of being your wife, because she’d be hard put to find another Jeopardy smart-guy who is as humorous as you. Thank you for all you teach me everyday that I log in.

    Have a pint of Mud Pie and a 16″ pizza!


    • Eugene Finerman says:

      Dear Kate,

      And by Jeopardy standards I am also quite handsome. Of course, that is equivalent to being the stud muffin of the high school chess club.

      In any case, for Karen and me, thank you.


  8. Peg Pruitt says:

    Congratulations Eugene and Karen! I hope you have many more wonderful years together.

    I noticed in your ice cream inventory, you said “coffee.” It used to be that you could not get coffee ice cream
    (or coffee milk) outside of New England. A coffee malted is a sublime pleasure.


    • Eugene Finerman says:

      Dear Peg,

      Thank you.

      But how did New England acquire its monopoly on coffee ice cream? The coffee plantations of Vermont are a well-kept secret. Was this a World War II project by MIT–using coffee ice cream to get Bavaria and Austria to defect from the Reich? (Sausage sherbet would have been the incentive for Prussia.)


  9. Rafferty Barnes says:

    Happy belated anniversary, Eugene and Karen. Ad multos Annos!

  10. Wimple says:

    Happy belated anniversary, Eugene and Karen! Sorry I missed it earlier in the week.

    I hope you don’t mind my quoting your musings to my history-bereft offspring from time to time. I’m also giving them deliciously ghoulish factoids from the current book I’m reading – “The Great Mortality” – about the black death.

    • Eugene Finerman says:

      Thank you, Diane.

      And I am flattered that you are quoting me, even if your offspring view it as textual harassment. Which of my pedantics have you have been citing?

      Here is what I have written about the bubonic plague and its role in English history:


      • Wimple says:

        Well recently it was the one about Spain v Netherlands – we’re pretty big on the World Cup around here and I thot you gave it a nice historical perspective. My youngest surprised me the other day when I asked him if he knew the first incidence of biological warfare – and he DID! (Catapulting plague-riddled bodies over the walls of Caffa by the Tartars in 1347.)

  11. wayne rhodes says:

    Happy Anniversary!!! Many more.

  12. Mary says:

    Happy anniversary to you both! And what a sweet and funny tribute to your wife, Eugene. Makes me wonder how you proposed to her.

  13. Joan Stewart Smith says:

    Happy anniversary wishes to King Eugene and his lovely bride Karen!

  14. Holly says:

    Happy Anniversary! We are hoping to see you on Millionaire.

    Did you go to the American Idol auditions today?

    • Eugene Finerman says:

      Thank you, Holly; but what could I offer American Idol? Yes, I may be today’s foremost humorist on the Byzantine Empire; but the appeal might be limited. I doubt that I would get a complimentary gyros in a Greecy spoon.


  15. Mary says:

    IMHO, one of your best entries, Eugene! A nice tribute to your bride. Happy anniversary!

  16. Tanya says:

    Happy anniversary to you both! Great story!

  17. Dennis Pennington says:

    Eugene Happy Anniversary to you and Karen . Wish you many more .

  18. Megan says:

    Happy anniversary! My brother Liam just got engaged and their date is July 12th of next year. I’ll tell him he’s in good company.

  19. Leslie Jo says:

    Happy anniversary!
    I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Karen, but she must be in hysterics (laughing) all the time because of your wit and storytelling abilities.
    Congratulations from one of your thousands of lucky readers!

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