Here's another picture. Not sure if it will clarify anything. The shape of the tree is VERY weird and I am sorry but I can't even try to put it in words. I don't fully understand it even when I am looking at it. Old twisted gnarly tree that obviously grew in odd ways and was pruned in odd ways and probably lost branches to windstorms or something over the many years.
But I appreciate your reminder of the underlying growth principles. Makes sense that pruning strategy should be based on that.
Turning to your questions/reactions:
1. Not sure how long ago it was pruned. We moved in 5 years ago, could be 6 years ago or 26 or 46 years ago.
2. I should have pressed the arborist for more details when I had him here. My goof.
Sounds like maybe we should just prune out 1/3 of the candles or something?