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Friday, December 25, 2009

Ac-cen-tu-ate the Pos-i-tive

Speaking of Aunt Til: I used to go over to her house on weekday afternoons and listen to old records. Not old old records, like 78s; but her Reader's Digest collections of big band music.

As a trombonist, I needed more inspiration than just "Blood, Sweat, & Tears" and "Chicago." Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Jack Teagarden: these guys were my "rock stars."

I loved that old swing music with its corny old messages. One song that has always stuck in my head was both silly and deep:

You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between

Written by Johnny Mercer and popularized by Bing Crosby, it went on to cite examples:

To illustrate his last remark
Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark
What did they do
Just when everything looked so dark?

Well, they said we'd better focus on the good.

In the lesser-known second verse:

You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium's
Liable to walk upon the scene

That's it! If you know it, sing it. And focus on success rather than failure.

You'll be happier.

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