Monday, July 20, 2009

Picture: Pylon Family

Two things:

1) I always thought power line support pylons were kind of cool, in a big, man-shaped-robot-stomping-through-the-countryside sort of way. Others, including the husband as a child, found them scary. Coincidentally, this was also in a big, man-shaped-robot-stomping-through-the-countryside sort of way. I guess a lot of things depend on how one feels about large, man-shaped robots stomping through the countryside.

Anyway. So here, obviously, is a pylon family portrait.1

Near Hills, IA. Open in separate window for a larger version.

2) Looking these up to confirm that they were sometimes called "pylons" (the Australians are more imaginative, according to Wikipedia, and call them "ironmen."2) reminded me that pesticides are not named any more sensibly than car models or celebrity babies. Of the eight restricted-use pesticides we regularly used at my former job, my favorite name by far was Pylon, AKA chlorfenapyr.3 It was my favorite brand name just because it made absolutely no sense: as far as I'm concerned, it makes about as much sense as naming a pesticide Handkerchief.4

Not that Pylon was my actual favorite pesticide to use and mix; it just had the most ridiculous name. My favorite pesticide to mix and use was Azatin (azadirachtin), for reasons I will leave mysterious and tantalizing, since I might want to write about my love of Azatin someday.


1 IMPORTANT DISTINCTION: This is not the same thing as a Cylon family portrait. Although both pylons and Cylons share humanoid form and common ancestry, they differ in a number of key traits, most notably size and mobility.
2 Or perhaps they're less imaginative, given the overwhelming resemblance to men, and probable iron-based composition. I say let your feelings about Australians and/or Wikipedia be your guide.
3 Though I preferred to call it by its given name, 4-bromo-2-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-(ethoxymethyl)-5-(trifluoromethyl)-1H-pyrrole-3-carbonitrile.
4 In fact, Handkerchief would be a more sensible pesticide name than Pylon, if for no other reason than that handkerchiefs actually are sometimes utilized in the killing and disposing of bugs, and pylons, at least in my personal experience, never are.


Diane said...

My husband was always intimidated by the rotating radar towers outside airports - like pylons but much more alert and battle-ready. So will we soon discover that some pylons look like humans and are lurking in our society, unaware that they are machines?

mr_subjunctive said...

Well, that would be the logical next step, yes.

Kenneth Moore said...

Sigh. I thought I had done so well, protecting myself from learning chemistry.

Unfortunately, I understand everything in footnote 3. I feel I need to purge--I do biology, not chemistry! Ugh!

Scott said...

Strangest thing... I found out years ago that while growing up both the wife and I referred to them as "robots tying up the earth" and FYI if you weren't aware already... there are both male and female versions right in the general area you are referencing. The "females" have a very shapely hourglass figure and the "males" are very "muscular" with broad shoulders... so, so strange.....

Corynocarpus lady ;-) said...

So funny to read from some one else that people considder them scary sometimes. As a teenager, when I visited my older sister and her husband and child, I had to bike under a few of these and they freaked me out. I always biked as fast as I could. I stil don't like them. It's not how they look, it's the power cords hanging in the air, the idea that they fall down etc. Strange enough, in the 80's I never heard that they can cause illness (cancer in children) but I always thought they emitted 'something'. Now I realise that as a 12 year old I didn't know a thing about magnetic fields etc. Maybe I sensed it?

lynn'sgarden said...

Never really gave these 'things' much thought...until NOW! Actually, the grove of towers en-route to Vegas...I've oddly thought were pretty!!

Lance said...

I don't remember being afraid of them, but I could always hear them humming. Always thought that was strange. Of course I can't have the lights (florescent) on in my office because I can hear them too, think it's the bat in me. Or I'm just nuts.

Hugh said...

We had to walk beneath them on the way to school, through what was known as the hydrofield. The Barenaked Ladies wrote a song about it.

In foggy or drizzly or snowy weather, they would sizzle.

Cool picture!