The Man of La Manchin averred: “I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there. This is a no.”

The Democrats were ecstatic after they won those two Senate seats in Georgia, thinking they were in the catbird’s seat, but that was all an illusion. The situation is better for them than if they had lost those seats, but the 50-50 stalemate in the Senate has made Manchin the most powerful person in America. Manchin was sent to Washington by a mere 290,000 voters, yet he now wields more power than Biden, who got 81 million votes. Nobody would be saying a word about Manchin if the Democrats had lost those two Georgia seats. If that had happened, only serious political junkies would even be able to name a senator from West Virginia. (I have no idea who the other one is.) Now everyone who watches TV news or reads a paper will stand a tip-toe when he is named, and rouse him at the name of Manchin. Talk about a guy in the right place at the right time! (Or the opposite, depending on your politics.)

NYC is in the midst of a massive wave of COVID, reportedly including some cast members. The show went on, but with a skeleton crew, no audience, and no musical guest. It was basically just Paul Rudd, Tom Hanks, Michael Che, Tina Fey and Kenan Thompson for the entire show. (Hanks and Fey welcomed Rudd to the Five-Timers Club.) Che referenced the fact that the actual cast members in attendance were 100% black.

Weekend Update consisted of the Che and Fey show, with the two anchors sitting on folding chairs, sans desk. The other three people mentioned above acted as a makeshift audience.

It was fortunate that they had quite a few taped segments to pad out some time, and they filled out the rest of the show with vintage clips.

The New York Post reported

A set insider has revealed that “four actors” have tested positive for coronavirus — and “three others” have called out because they are now “fearful” about coming to NBC Studios at 30 Rockefeller Center, where the weekly sketch show is filmed in Midtown.

Oh, those tricky “cc” and “ch” combinations. In the past week I have had to look up the pronunciation of four words that are mispronounced so often by allegedly intelligent commentators that I thought perhaps I had been pronouncing them incorrectly all these years:


My pronunciations were all correct. People just use words that they don’t know how to pronounce. Those ch’s are really pesky.

they are a “k” in machination
they are an “sh” in chicanery
they are a typical “ch” in chicken

As for the cc’s in flaccid and accede, for centuries they have been pronounced as “k”


But many American dictionaries, in the non-fascist spirit of favoring description over prescription, are now listing “a SEED” and “FLAH-sid” as alternate pronunciations because languages are living, evolving entities. If everyone pronounces a word a certain way, it becomes correct by default. In a classic example of linguistic evolution, if you pronounce the word “mauve” in the traditional correct form, almost every American will either misunderstand you or think you’ve messed up! (It should rhyme with “grove.”)

Here are OED’s phonetic representations of those two words:


Frankly, I have given up on this one. I deliberately pronounce it “mawv” now so Americans will know which word I am saying. I would pronounce it the traditional way if I were in Canada or the UK, but I’ve never had a need to use that word in those countries, and I don’t expect that I ever will. It just doesn’t come up that often in conversation. Maybe it could pop up in trivia competitions: “Name all of Tom Wolfe’s books.”