Thursday, April 18, 2019

Putting the illegal alien invasion in perspective

Received via e-mail, origin unknown:

I'd say that gives us a pretty graphic perspective on the problem, doesn't it? And another 100,000 or so arrived during March. By the end of 2019, if the trend continues, we'll have been invaded by enough illegal aliens to fill fifteen to twenty of those stadiums!

It's long past time something was done to stop this. I hope President Trump can get it right.


"Shrinkflation" - yet more evidence of the declining value of your money

I've been saying for years that the "official" US rate of inflation is vastly understated - deliberately so, in order to allow the US government to manipulate inflation-linked entitlement programs and the like.  I wrote about the issue in three articles in January:

Now comes an interesting analysis of "shrinkflation" - the ever-decreasing quantities inside the products we buy for ever-higher prices.

Based on numerous sources, I was able to develop a partial list of products that seem to have shrunk, or whose packages offer less items than they once did. The list includes: cookies (package sizes and in the case of at least one popular brand, the cookies themselves), toilet paper, candy bars, chewing gum and other confectionary products (like Cadbury Eggs), ground pepper, tuna, yogurt, ice cream, orange juice, coffee, bags of tea, sugar, potato chips, toothpaste, deodorant, cake mix, cereal, blocks of cheese, paper towels, napkins, paper plates, crackers, hot dogs, bacon, frozen dinners, heads of lettuce, canned vegetables, frozen vegetables, spaghetti sauce, canned tomatoes, mixed nuts, shaving cream, hair spray, bars of soap, tubs of margarine, detergent, bleach, shampoo, pet food, (some brands of) beer, (some brands of) hard liquor, diet shakes, diet bars, frozen pizza, peanut butter, mayonnaise, Gatorade (in some stores), vitamins, over-the-counter medicines, and even newspapers (page widths have shrunk from 16 inches in the early 1950s to 11 inches in most papers today).

Given the difficulty of finding apples-to-apples comparisons of product prices and sizes at different points in time, I embarked on my own Internet search.

The best source I found was a survey of prices (which does include package sizes) conducted by the Morris County New Jersey Library. Working from this historical source, I picked 30 staples at random for my own “basket” comparison. My analysis focused on the years 2003 to 2014, when the library stopped doing its survey.

I concluded that 25 of these 30 products had probably experienced reductions in sizes or net weights.

I also calculated that the nominal rate of price inflation for these products. Interestingly, for the vast majority of them, the rate of inflation had exceeded the CPI’s official rate of inflation, often by large margins.

For example, in 2003, a jar of Hellman’s mayonnaise was $1.99 and was sold in a 32-ounce container (6.2 cents an ounce). In 2013, the mayonnaise was sold in a 30-ounce container for $4.59 (15.3 cents an ounce). Over 10 years, the per-unit price increase was 146.7 percent compared to the CPI “food at home” figure of 30.3 percent.

Skippy Peanut Butter was $2.19 in an 18-ounce jar in 2006 (12.1 cents an ounce). In 2014, it was sold in a 16.3-ounce container for $3.29 (20.2 cents an ounce). The price increase in eight years was 67 percent, compared to food-at-home inflation from 2006 to 2014 of 24 percent.

. . .

For my part, I came to view shrinkflation as simply another piece of evidence that supports the contrarians’ view that “real” inflation is almost certainly higher than official inflation.I suspect it is telling us that the inflation we see with our own eyes is greater than the inflation figure we read about in The Wall Street Journal.

That is, that ever-shrinking roll of toilet paper might be telling us something the government doesn’t want us to hear.

There's much more at the link.  Recommended reading.

As one analyst said some years ago, "If You Want To Know The Real Rate Of Inflation, Don't Bother With The CPI".  Shrinkflation underlines how right she was.


An excellent first novel

Jason Fuesting and his wife have been online friends with my wife for some time, although I've only met them once, during a trip to St. Louis some months ago.  Jason's a military veteran, and has been working hard on a science fiction trilogy for a long time.  He's finally let loose Volume 1 on the world - and it's a very good effort indeed.

I had the privilege of beta-reading "By Dawn's Early Light" prior to publication, and found it absorbing and interesting.  Jason certainly has his own voice, and a gifted way of setting up his characters and scenarios that holds the reader's attention and draws him further into the story.  I think his first novel is rather better than my own "Take The Star Road".

The blurb reads:

Eric Friedrich was supervising the last ice harvesting shift for his ship's shot-up environmental systems when they detected an anomalous ice comet drifting by. Investigating the icy tomb, Eric finds a ship that couldn't exist--a relic from a nation the Protectorate killed billions to erase from history... And will kill even more to keep secret.

When his world explodes, Eric must make allies in the unlikeliest places, and seize even the slimmest chance of survival while unraveling a conspiracy that shattered planets and set off interstellar war!

I recommend "By Dawn's Early Light" to your attention.  It's very affordable, too.  What's more, Jason has already written Books 2 and 3 in the trilogy, and is currently polishing them prior to publication, so you shouldn't have to wait long for more.


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Google Mail and Blogger problems

Just a quick heads-up:  Gmail and Blogger have been logging me out for the past hour.  I can't check e-mail at all, and this is the first time I've been able to reach Blogger.

If you don't see any blog posts tomorrow morning, it'll be because of these problems.  I hope they'll be resolved soon.


For once, I think Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is right

I mostly ignore the verbiage spouted by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).  She all too often displays arrogance, a sense of entitlement, and sheer ignorance on every possible occasion.  However, they say that even a blind squirrel sometimes finds a nut:  and I think Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has just found one.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., blasted the justice system amid reports actress Felicity Huffman may get a lighter prison sentence for her part in the college admissions bribery scam.

Huffman, 56, agreed earlier this month that she will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy and fraud for paying a consultant $15,000 disguised as a charitable donation to boost her daughter’s SAT score.

Ocasio-Cortez reacted to a tweet that said though the sentencing guideline is four to 10 months of jail time, prosecutors “will make a recommendation for the lower end of that range and will allow Huffman to argue for a 0-6 month range.”

The freshman congresswoman said the U.S. justice system “criminalizes poverty + disproportionately targets race, yet routinely pardons large-scale crimes of wealth and privilege.”

“Moments like these tell us it’s less a justice system, and more a class enforcement system,” she tweeted.

There's more at the link.

While working as a prison chaplain, I all too often came across inmates serving multi-year sentences for crimes that had seen richer, more influential offenders sentenced to time served, or a large fine, or probation, or a much lighter prison sentence than usual.  It's a well-known thing behind bars.  If you've got the money to make donations to the right politician, or pay a high-priced lawyer who knows where the bodies are buried and/or which strings to pull (and how much it'll cost you for him to pull them on your behalf), you can get away with almost anything - or, at least, face a substantially reduced penalty for your crimes.

Frankly, it sickens me . . . but it's the nature of the beast, I fear.  Every country has a similar system.  The "insiders" get away with things that will see the "outsiders" spend years behind bars.  It can be due to money, or influence, or whatever.  Even in the most scandalously corrupt environments (such as our major cities - think Chicago, or Philadelphia, or New Orleans, or Detroit, or whatever), the pattern continues to this day.  Certain individuals are caught red-handed, and have to carry the can;  but most of the corrupt administration officials in those cities carry on as usual, and seldom if ever face charges.  In fact, the politicians in those cities are all too often allied with local criminal gangs, trading votes for immunity.  (See, for example, "Gangs and Politicians in Chicago:  An Unholy Alliance".)

Now, if Rep. Ocasio-Cortez would stop spouting her usual inane stupidity and actually do something constructive to reform our justice system, to get rid of this sort of thing, I might develop more respect for her.


Saving money on taxes, with Uncle Sam's blessing

I've had a hectically busy couple of weeks, finalizing taxes and associated book-keeping.  It all worked out in the end, and has been very worthwhile.  I thought those of my readers who are independent writers, as I am, or who operate small businesses, might find some of our "lessons learned" interesting.

Miss D. and I set up a limited liability company (LLC) last year, to handle my book publishing activities.  It meant a lot more work, keeping the company books to corporate standards, setting up dedicated bank accounts, and so on.  However, it allowed us to separate our business income and expenditure from all our other sources of revenue, and account for them in detail.  Compared to previous years, I'd say it meant three times more work - but also three to four times greater savings on our tax bill.  Being able to track everything within a corporate entity was worth the trouble;  and being able to take advantage of corporate deductions for depreciation, etc. was very useful.  We saved a bundle on taxes!

It's also meant that we have greater flexibility on our personal income taxes.  Until last year, we'd simply used our standard income tax deduction (which was $12,000 in 2017) to cover business expenses (which aren't very high for a small business such as ours).  This year, by separating the income and expense streams, not only did we account for business expenses much more rigorously, we were also able to reserve the whole of our standard tax deduction (which doubled to $24,000 in 2018) to reduce our income tax liability, over and above deductions for business expenses.  Effectively, we had a combined tax deduction three times greater than the previous year, which saved a great deal of money in itself.

Finally, we've opted to have our LLC taxed as a C corporation - in other words, the money that flows into the LLC doesn't "pass through" to us, but is taxed in the company's hands.  (We're going to build up a business reserve in the company account before worrying about paying ourselves anything from it.)  The corporate tax rate is currently 21% - far less than the maximum personal tax rate of 37%.  Of course, we're not wealthy, and don't even come close to that upper tax bracket;  but those whose individual earnings exceed $37,701 (or, as a couple, $77,401) currently have to pay 22%, and the rate goes up from there.  If you're in any higher tax bracket, the corporate tax rate can save you money.

All in all, it was worth all the time, trouble and expense of setting up the company, and the added work of keeping the books to the required standard.  It's saved us thousands of dollars.  Even if you're earning as little as $25,000 a year from your small business, consider setting up a corporate vehicle for it (or even a "trading as" classification, with a separate business bank account).  It can be very worthwhile.


Sharyl Attkisson brings logic to the illegal alien problem

I'm sure most of us have been following the debate (and the outrage) over President Trump's proposal to release illegal aliens in so-called "sanctuary cities" while their cases are being processed.  I find it highly amusing how liberals, who are normally so pro-illegal-alien, suddenly go all NIMBY when the suggestion is made.

I think Sharyl Attkisson, the journalist who lifted the lid on the "Fast and Furious" gun-running scandal, has the right of it in her latest column.

The beauty of [President Trump's proposal| is its simplicity. It doesn’t require litigating who’s correct. It merely accepts the stated view of each side. President Trump is telling illegal immigration supporters: I hear you and am giving you the chance to practice your advocacy. You will receive all the benefits you foresee from illegal immigrants. At the same time, he’s telling illegal immigration opponents: I hear you and will not force you to bear what you see as costs to your communities.

There are consequences to whichever side is wrong, and that’s not a bad thing, either. Those communities that shun illegal immigrants will not receive the benefits, if it turns out they exist. On the other hand, those who welcome illegal immigrants will have to bear the costs or other negative consequences, if it turns out there are any after all.

Additionally, sanctuary cities and states should want to do all they can to keep illegal immigrants from being sent to less welcoming places. The best places for the immigrants’ welfare would seem to be where local policies and laws favor them; for example, where they can receive driver’s licenses, social welfare benefits, in-state or free college tuition — maybe even vote. It would seem to be to nobody’s benefit to house them in places where they are not allowed to drive or not offered favorable college plans and other assistance.

If illegal immigrants were welcomingly hosted by sanctuary cities and states, there’s an added benefit to all: We would be conducting a valuable social experiment. Within a year, there’s a pretty good chance we would be able to see which side is closer to being correct. The communities that take in masses of illegal immigrants will either be measurably safer and more prosperous, less safe and less prosperous, or some mix thereof.

Therefore, it seems to me there is only one logical response to the president’s threat — or promise. For non-sanctuary cities and states, it would be: “Thank you, President Trump, for not saddling us with the costs of this crisis.” For sanctuary cities and states, it would be: “Welcome to all illegal immigrants. And thank you, President Trump, for rewarding us with all the benefits they bring.”

There's more at the link.

That's it in a nutshell.  I hope President Trump goes ahead with his proposal.  Let's see who's right when the rubber hits the road!


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Rhodesia and white supremacists

The New York Times recently published an article titled "Rhodesia’s Dead — but White Supremacists Have Given It New Life Online".  Here's an excerpt.

Nostalgia for Rhodesia has ... grown into a subtle and profitable form of racist messaging, with its own line of terminology, hashtags and merchandise, peddled to military-history fans and firearms enthusiasts by a stew of far-right provocateurs.

In conversations and email exchanges with The New York Times, some prominent social-media figures and companies selling Rhodesia-themed merchandise denied trafficking in white-power messages, or said they had done so unwittingly. A few said their affinity for Rhodesia derived from the government’s supposed anticommunist stance.

But outside observers of this Rhodesia revival cite a far more disturbing inspiration for it: Dylann Roof, the American white supremacist who killed nine black parishioners in a Charleston, S.C. church in June 2015. Roof, who was sentenced to death last year, had penned an online manifesto, which appeared on a website called The Last Rhodesian, with photographs of himself wearing a jacket with a patch of the green-and-white Rhodesian flag.

There's more at the link.

The trouble is, most of those who peddle such nonsense have no idea of the reality that was Rhodesia.  I made several trips there during the latter half of the 1970's, when the war was at its height, and saw for myself a lot of the nastiness that was going on.  There was enough evil to go around, on both sides.  The communist-inspired, -trained and -armed terrorists/guerrillas were ruthless and merciless, killing thousands of their own people to enforce their control of the countryside.  The (largely white) security forces were equally ruthless and merciless, often abandoning the rule of law in favor of "frontier justice", beating, maiming and killing their own citizens in an effort to get the information they needed to prosecute the war.  Both sides spread so much propaganda about each other that to this day, it's almost impossible to get to the bottom of many violent tragedies that occurred.

Basically, Rhodesia was doomed by demographics.  In 1969, white Rhodesians formed less than 5% of the population;  black Rhodesians, 95%.  Whites were outnumbered 19 to 1 - and the situation got steadily worse during the 1970's, due to an exploding black birth rate and the emigration (first a trickle, then a flood) of whites who saw the writing on the wall.  Those who left were derisively referred to, at first, by those who stayed, as "taking the chicken run" - until the end drew near, when attitudes among the remaining whites suddenly changed.  Earlier departures were now said to have "taken the owl run", acting out of wisdom rather than cowardice.  In trying to hold onto power, white Rhodesians were "farting against thunder".  Demographics are inexorable.  There was simply no way they could possibly succeed.  (South Africa went the same way for the same basic reason, although there whites formed up to 10% of the total population during the 1970's, almost double Rhodesia's ratio).

It was that demographic inevitability that, in my opinion, gave rise to a lot of the worst violence and atrocities.  Those serving in Rhodesia's armed forces knew that, even if they won today's fight, there'd be another just as bad (if not worse) tomorrow.  There would be no let-up.  Things were not going to get better.  The visceral response of many Rhodesian servicemen was to "do unto others what was being done to them".  They became as much terrorists, in the way they treated their own people, as the guerrillas against whom they fought.  I know they did - I saw them do it.  (If you don't want to believe that, read some of the literature that's come out of the security forces since then.  I can list some books here, if there's enough interest.  It was a brutal time.)

On the other side, the terrorists/guerrilla leaders knew that ultimately, they could not lose.  They had massive international support, whereas the Rhodesian government was isolated.  Their forces dominated huge sections of the countryside, where the people were loyal to them (whether by choice or by intimidation).  They had no compunction in killing, maiming, torturing and terrorizing their own race, much less the whites who still controlled Rhodesia.  Their leaders were formed and trained by the Soviet Union and Communist China, and didn't know the meaning of civilized conduct or humane treatment of non-combatants.  They were after power, and they firmly believed it grew out of the barrel of a gun.  In Rhodesia, they were ultimately proved right, weren't they?

I've never understood those apologists for Rhodesia or apartheid-era South Africa who claim that things were better, even for blacks, under a white government.  As I wrote some years ago, in an article titled "Was apartheid South Africa really that bad?":

Finally, to people who try to make excuses for apartheid and the conduct of the then-South African government, I can only say:
  • If you were treated like a slave, a sub-human and a pariah in your own country;
  • If you were stripped of your citizenship and civil rights in the country of your birth because of the color of your skin;
  • If your education depended upon your skin color for its quality (or lack thereof);
  • If your choice of what to do with your life, or where to live, or who to love or marry, was restricted by your race;
  • If you were denied free travel inside your own country, forced to carry an internal passport and subject to instant arrest if you forgot it at home or lost it;
  • If you were forced to accept menial labor as the only work open to you, paid a starvation wage, and denied the right to bring your family to live with you near your place of work;
  • If you were savagely beaten and imprisoned if you dared to protest such restrictions and indignities, or even shot out of hand rather than arrested;
would you calmly accept those things? Or would you take up arms to overthrow the system that placed such restrictions upon you?

I can't blame those who were penalized, due solely to the color of their skin, under the governments of either Rhodesia or South Africa, for choosing to resist.  I condemn unreservedly the terroristic nature of much of their resistance, just as I condemn the excesses and atrocities committed by the security forces on the other side.  "Two wrongs don't make a right", as the old saying goes.

Those trying to use Rhodesian military memorabilia, and the racist slogans of that period, to support their notions of white supremacy or the like, don't know what they're talking about.  They weren't there, and they have no conception of what things were like.  I was there, I saw the war and internal conflict in Rhodesia and South Africa at first hand, and I know.  God forbid that such times should come again!


Notre Dame

I share the sadness of millions around the world at the loss to fire of much of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris yesterday.

In cultural and historical terms, it was a tragedy of the first magnitude.  What's lost can be rebuilt, but the original can never be replaced.  Of greater cultural import, at present it's believed that something like 70% of the religious relics housed in the sacristy at the cathedral have been destroyed, or are still not accounted for.  Their loss (if confirmed) will be a grievous blow to the Catholic Church, where such items are regarded with far greater importance than other Christian churches.

I'm very thankful that only one serious injury has been reported (to a firefighter), and no fatalities.  Given the hundreds of tons of lead sheathing in the Cathedral's roof, most of which melted in the flames and fell into the interior, it could have been much, much worse.

However, I'm also very angry at the rush to judgment by some extremists.  Within an hour of the fire making the news, they were proclaiming that it was started by Islamic fundamentalist arsonists.  They didn't speculate - they flat-out stated it as a fact, and began to foment yet more anti-Muslim hatred among their followers.  In the absence of any supporting evidence whatsoever, and given the already inflamed relations between Muslims and ordinary citizens in France, that was extraordinarily irresponsible.  I'm a firm believer in free speech, but I also believe that deliberately false speech should have consequences.  I hope their lies bounce back on their heads in French courts, if that can be arranged.

In the end, I think the Notre Dame fire should not affect the faith of Christians.  We may mourn the loss of a beautiful, historic building, and the loss of so many culturally important artifacts;  but, in the end, our faith is not in buildings, nor in artwork, nor in anything tangible.  This might be a good time to remind ourselves of that reality.


Monday, April 15, 2019

IQ, countries, and coping skills

Readers who've been following my series of articles on the current Ebola crisis in Congo will recall that one of the biggest problems is cultural blindness to the seriousness of the problem.  This article sums up the local cultural approach.  The root of the problem is, one's dealing with a very low local level of average intelligence.  I'm not being racist or discriminatory in the least by saying that;  it's a scientific, measurable fact.  That lack of intelligence overall makes it very, very difficult to educate the locals into a healthier, more rational approach to the problem.

(That doesn't only apply to Ebola, either.  If you install a water purification system in a tribal village, you'll soon find that it stops working within a matter of weeks, because those charged with maintaining it simply don't bother to do so.  It's some sort of voodoo or magic to them, not something they can control or do anything about.  If it breaks, they can always go back to drawing polluted water out of the river, just as their ancestors did for generations.  It's your problem, as the donor, to fix it - never theirs;  and if you don't fix it, you've cheated them by giving them a defective product.  I speak from long and bitter experience!)

I've been reminded anew of this issue during the investigation into the recent crashes of two Boeing 737 Max airliners, one in Indonesia, the other in Ethiopia.  It's clear that Boeing needs to at least do some redesign work on their systems, to make them more transparent to pilots and easier to operate.  Nevertheless, I can't help noting the very clear signs that in both cases, maintenance and basic flight skills were lacking.  I won't go into detail here, because that would take far too long;  but it's already clear that the Indonesian aircraft was not properly maintained, and in both cases, the flight crews made several mistakes that may have been major factors in causing the crashes.  Of course, it's politically incorrect to say that, which is why neither investigation has yet come out and stated it in so many words:  but if you talk to US pilots of the same aircraft, their opinions are pretty much unanimous.  They can point to specific problems and incidents and actions, and criticize them on the basis of expert knowledge.

I recommend an article about world IQ that shows the problem in graphic detail.  Here's an excerpt.

David Becker has released a new version of the World’s IQ. Each country has a score showing the cognitive abilities of their citizens, this being a blend of genetics and the environment of each country, particularly as regards education and health.  (Click both images for a larger view.)

The world’s global score is 82. This is 12th percentile rank on the Greenwich Mean Intelligence benchmark of IQ 100. As school teachers used to say in end of year reports: “Could do better”.

What does IQ 82 mean in practical terms? The account below gives the achievements as shown in Western economies, with free education and usually free healthcare, and will need to be adjusted for other economies, probably downwards to account for poorer educational systems and the burdens of ill health.

Here, in broad terms, are descriptions of those in the IQ 75 (5th percentile) to IQ 90 (25th percentile) range.

There's more at the link.  It's well worth reading the whole article, to see the implications of these numbers for national economies and destinies.

There are many who decry such statistics as meaningless, racist, discriminatory, and all the rest.  Trouble is, for those of us who've been "on the ground" all over the world, in many of those countries, the IQ statistics are a very accurate predictor of how much we'll be able to do in a given location, and how well the locals will be able to assimilate what we do with them, and take control of their own destinies once we're no longer there to hold their hands.  The correlation, in my experience, is as close to 100% as makes no difference.


Clearly, "spend a penny" no longer applies!

Back in the day, a common British expression was "to spend a penny".  This referred to the coin needed to operate the doors on public toilets, and indicated that one had to do one's business there.  However, looking at the cost of public toilets in these United States today (or, at least, parts thereof), I should think a Krugerrand or other gold coin would be the modern equivalent!

In ’08, a San Francisco Weekly article fumed that a park restroom in Golden Gate Park was costing taxpayers $531,219. Fast forward, a decade later the cost of a park restroom in the Golden Gate Boathouse had ballooned to $2 million or $4,700 per square foot.

The modern bathroom had a third All-Gender option that the ’08 bathroom didn’t. But adding a non-gender shouldn’t have quadrupled the price. Inflation would have kept the cost well below a million.

Why did a 15-foot by 28-foot bathroom cost millions? Part of the answer may be that San Fran privileges minority businesses and requires that 15% of work hours be carried out by “disadvantaged” workers.

New York City’s bathrooms were always pricey. In ’08, they ran to a million. A recent report noted that the overpriced real estate market had pulled off a new high with a $6 million bathroom. Fit not only for a king, but for Steve Austin. The bionic bathroom is a new record. Last year’s record was a $4.7 million bathroom in the Bronx. An average park bathroom in the Big Apple now runs to $3.6 million ... You can still pick up a Central Park West condo with multiple rooms for the cost of a public bathroom on Staten Island.

. . .

It’s not impossible to build public restrooms more affordably. Carolina Beach is looking at 12 stalls for $120,000. Plumbing can be expensive, but it’s not that expensive. The rising cost of bathrooms isn’t due to a shortage, but to a combination of corruption and incompetence with local governments drawing up sweetheart deals and imposing regulatory burdens so that only a handful of contractors get the jobs.

Costs are raised by everything from an insistence on dealing only with minority contractors, to mandates imposed on contractors that raise their expenses, to deals with contractors made by politicians who are in their pockets, to the cost of meeting assorted local regulations. Activists complain that there ought to be more money in city budgets for the poor, when the money is being siphoned by regulations that are supposedly meant to help the poor, but in reality help contractors gouge taxpayers for more money.

. . .

At some point, the toilet bubble will burst. But for now, billions of dollars nationwide are being wasted on building public toilets that cost more than mansions do in some parts of the country.

There's more at the link.

Does one need to hand over one's tax returns in order to use those toilets, to prove that one makes enough (and pays enough tax) to justify one's presence in them?  One wonders . . .


Sunday, April 14, 2019

Sunday morning music

Let's mix genres this morning in the person of Nadja Kossinskaja, a Ukrainian classical guitarist from Kiev who's also made quite an impression in the pop and rock worlds.  She's very versatile, and seems able to blend in with a wide variety of genres, groups and expressions.

Let's start with her classical guitar credentials.  Here she plays "Oblivion" by Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla.  She's using a Concertura guitar made by Theo Scharpach, using 500-year-old wood salvaged from the ruins of the Frauenkirche in Munich after it was destroyed by Allied bombs during World War II.  Details of the instrument may be found here.

Next, she performs as part of the 4tissimo Guitar Quartet in an eight-hands, four-players, two-guitars rendition of "Tico-Tico no Fubá", a Brazilian piece by Zequinha de Abreu.  Looks like they're all having a lot of fun!

Time for a change of pace.  Here she switches to an electric guitar and tackles Deep Purple's classic rock anthem, "Smoke On The Water".

She's also performed with an intriguing Ukrainian percussion group named Ars Nova.  Here they are in a live performance in Kiev.  You'll recognize Nadja by her hair, rather than her guitar, because she's not playing one here.

You'll find more of her music on her YouTube channel.  Sadly, it doesn't appear to be on sale to any great extent in the USA, although it's more freely available in Europe.