We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Saw this tree in bloom today behind a very good fish store, growing out of a hole in the asphalt. Never seen this sort of tree before. The wisteria-colored, tubular 2" blooms hang down, and last year's nut-like seed pods are still on the branches. The trunk looks like the trunk of a fast-growing trash tree. Quite a wonderful small tree, with the elegant blooms before the leaves emerge:
Not to mention, Paulownia has been used in Japan for centuries to make furniture -- Indeed, I have a tansu made of it in my living room. The wood is soft and light and produces quite acceptable-looking furniture.
In short, this is not just a junk tree, and the Paulownia tree has its defenders even here in the U.S.
I can't give you a source for this but I once heard that one of the reasons the Japanese used paulownia to make chests and boxes was that it could be watered down and the wood would hold the water making it more fire-proof. In a city where thatched roofs were the norm and fires raged when they started, being able to protect your goods was a major consideration.
But again, I have no evidence of this. I heard it from friends when I lived in Japan.