Male Trees, Rubberville, and an Odd Couple

“The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”  Albert Einstein.

Learning three new things proved quite challenging for me over the past 24 hours.     Laundry and other household chores demanded my attention.  And, frankly, the background noise of my television consisted of a series of TVtropolis reruns.  I may find a new joke to laugh at no matter how many times I see the same show, but sitcoms aren’t noted for their ability to impart an education–especially when you’ve seen it ten times before.

Despite a lack of stimulating content, I did manage to find three tid-bits of valuable information in the past day.

1)  For all my fellow female allergy sufferers, I have just one piece of advice–blame the males.  No, this is not a sexist rant.  It is, in fact, scientifically accurate–at least, according to a horticultural expert, Tom Ogren.   He has been commissioned by Reactine to tour across Canada, educating us on the downside of planting solely male trees–the unnecessary torture of allergy sufferers.  Most Canadian and American cities are filled with an overwhelming majority of male trees.

So, why do North Americans eschew the female tree?  Apparently, we don’t like the mess.  We are simply too busy to find time to sweep up nuts and seed-pods.  Instead, we opt for the invisible and stealthy pollen of their male counterparts.  It would seem that washing a thick coating of yellow powder off of our vehicles is not a problem.

I learned this gem while reading the front page of today’s Ottawa Citizen.  

2) I bet you don’t know what American city held the title “Rubber Capital of the World” for years and actually birthed the American trucking industry.  Odds are you probably have never really cared either, but I bet I have now piqued your curiosity.  For much of the twentieth century, Goodrich, Goodyear, Firestone, and General Tire all had their headquarters in this city.  I know…you’re sitting on the edge of your seat in anticipation, so here is the answer.

AKRON, OHIO.

And so you don’t walk away with just one fascinating Akron fact, I’ll ply you with more.  These tire companies also created affordable housing neighbourhoods for their employees with catchy names like Firestone Park and Goodyear Heights.  And even after the departure of three out of four tire manufacturers, it is now famous for its polymer research.  It really is a town built on rubber.

How on earth did I encounter this little gem?  I was doing a crossword puzzle that gave the clue “Ohio Tire City.”

3) My husband had the TV tuned to Batman and Robin, the one with George Clooney as Batman (who I think was the best Batman ever) and I decided to “imdb” Tim Burton.  One thing led to another and the next thing I knew, I was reading an on-line article (actually there were several), about the strange living arrangements  of Mr Burton and his significant other, Helena Bonham Carter.  Apparently they live in separate halves of an apartment in a very posh building. 

According to Helena, Tim is a  problem snorer due to his deviated septum.  In his defence, she admits that she is very bossy.  Her side of the home is girlie, while his is…well…darker and more skeleton-ish.  This is, after all, Tim Burton.

My only question is: how do they divide up the children?

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