May-June 2018

THE ACCORDION

By Chris Wilson

accordion Bierce smIf you are reading this, I’m sure you’ve heard them all. What is the definition of a gentleman? Somebody who knows how to play the accordion, but doesn't. What is the definition of an optimist? An accordion player with a pager. What do you call an accordion at the bottom of the ocean? A good start.

Where would we be without the ability to laugh at ourselves? And, of course, there are jokes about just about any instrument as well as musicians in general. Besides, I’ve heard every lawyer joke there is including the one the substitutes “lawyer” for “accordion” in the third example above.

The accordion has always intrigued me. Many years ago, I was in a pawn shop in Las Vegas and saw a beautiful turquoise piano accordion and thought about buying it. However, I didn’t have the knowledge to determine whether or not it was in good condition or worth the price. I continued to think about that accordion after I left the shop and can still picture it to this day.

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March-April 2018

THE IRISH GIRL

By Chris Wilson

Mom and Barbara smAt the time of my adoption at birth, my parents were told that I came from Irish stock, so they diligently did their best to support what they were told was my cultural heritage. They weren't even sure of their own, although they surmised that the blending of the Williams and Wilson clans from the American Midwest represented an ancestry that began somewhere in the United Kingdom.

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January-February 2018

IN PRAISE OF IMMIGRANT ENTREPRENEURS

By Chris Wilson

Elon Musk 2015 sm
Immigrant entrepreneur Elon Musk

Elon Musk. This amazing man was born and raised in South Africa, began college in Canada then completed dual Bachelor of Science degrees (physics and economics) at the University of Pennsylvania. Accepted into the PhD program in physics at Stanford, he left after two days to pursue his entrepreneurial ambitions which led to his co-founding of the company that became PayPal. He moved on from there into Space X and Tesla as well as many other companies.

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November-December 2017

MUSIC AND SCIENCE

By Chris Wilson

toddler music smThe music we love gives us entertainment and community with others with whom we can share it. But can it do more? There are many studies from universities around the world that seem to give a resounding “yes” to this question. And, some are in our own backyard!

USC’s “Brain and Creativity Institute” researchers have been studying the effects of music training on child development since 2012. The study follows children engaged in group music training and, though it has not yet concluded, has found “a positive association between music training and improvements in cognitive skills including working memory and inhibitory function and as evidence by greater brain activation in brain’s prefrontal circuitry during tasks engaging executive function skills.”

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September-October 2017

So What Do You Do?

By Chris Wilson

ken omalleyIntermission. Time to stretch our legs a little bit, get some coffee or tea, and chat.

I’ve made great friends at many live music shows, and often intermission is where the friendship began to blossom. These friendships have traveled to Facebook or sometimes continued down the street for a bite after the show. On occasion I’ve seen a familiar face from an entirely different part of my life and it has taken a minute to register, particularly when the last time I saw him or her we were both wearing business suits.

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