Photo of the Day – Copenhagen canal

As we noted earlier this week, Summer is a glorious time in Scandinavia. The region’s normally chilly temperatures have mellowed, and activities like cycling, boating and swimming are in full swing. If you need more visual proof, just check out this idyllic scene captured by Flickr user justchuckfl, in the Danish city of Copenhagen. Like many Scandinavian capitals, Copenhagen is an urban center inextricably tied to the sea and its many canals. If you find yourself walking the streets of this colorful capital, you’re likely to encounter a scene much like this one – a scenic canal ringed by brighly-hued buildings and bobbing sailboats.

Taken any great photos during your own travels? Why not add them to our Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.

Tourism Australia comes under fire from random retired American soldier

Tourism Australia nailed it. The struggle between work and life is reaching fever pitch. Those with jobs are working harder than ever, thanks to layoffs and a desperate play to look like top performers in case the axe comes down again. It’s a battle, sometimes, to take control of your life. This is the theme of Tourism Australia’s new campaign, “No Leave, No Life,” which drives home the fact that Australians are pissing away their vacation time and aren’t giving themselves the time away that they need.

So, the organization modeled a photo on the U.S. Marines (hey, Sydney Morning Herald, marines and soldiers aren’t the same thing) raising the American flag on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima. You know the original picture. Everyone remembers it. Because everyone is familiar with this iconic photo, it’s easy for one to relate to it. That’s what makes Tourism Australia‘s picture of a family “raising” an umbrella particularly brilliant.

Well, there are a few people who would disagree, as you’ll see after the jump.

U.S. Army veteran (unless he’s really a marine – SMH can’t tell the different) Russell Wade wrote to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to complain. He’s pissed because it trivializes “an iconic picture of high significance to the American people.” Yet, he isn’t driven to anger by U.S. Marine commercials that equate fighting in a war to fantasy games in which fictional creatures are the enemy and are vanquished by knights with swords in a manner that implies death with what looks like a simple “zapping.”

Before we take Tourism Australia to task for its advertising decisions, let’s not forget that the Marines have had a few problems as well … occasionally seeming culturally tone-deaf.

Okay, back to the contested photos. Both photos were staged, so it really is a posed piece derived from a posed piece. And, it’s not like this is the worst instance of borrowing from military history and tradition to entertain, amuse or sell. Hell, where was Wade when Homer Simpson “trivialized” the U.S. Navy?

For that matter, where was he when the Village People did so? It looks like this guy has a shitload of letters to write.

The Village People can model entertainment on the U.S. military. The creators of The Simpsons can take it a step further (as they’ve done several times with the navy and the army, at this point). And, let’s face it. These go a lot deeper than modeling a photograph on a classic … mind you, a practice common in the arts.

I was a soldier for a while, and I have nothing but respect for those who served honorably. I just wish there could be a better sense of reality and an antidote for self-importance.

Bizarre, monstrous sea creatures found in Antarctic waters

Giant star fish, hydroids (see photo: urrr…mop-like sea animals?), sea-squirts (that really just look like a squirt of gelatin), sea-spiders, daggertooths and sea-pigs, are just a few of the 30,000 rare sea creatures found by a team of researchers on a large-scale survey of Antarctica.

Over 35 days they traveled about 2000-miles collecting specimens on the surface and from the sea-bed as part of the International Polar Year and Census of Antarctic Marine Life programs, which study the diversity of Antarctic marine life. Using advanced video imagine, the researchers also managed to photograph the seafloor to a depth of 2.1 miles.

Published recently in National Geographic, you can see an incredible, jaw-scrunching photo slide-show that gives a taste of these marine species, on their website here.

Painful lesson on stray pets in foreign countries

Have you ever been tempted to save that “poor little puppy’s” life by airlifting it from its miserable life in Egypt, Greece or Asia, and bringing it home, so you can pamper it with vitamin bones and pet spa treatments? I have friends who have rescued a puppy from one of the Greek islands (don’t ask how they got her on the plane) and after 10 years, they are still enjoying each other’s company in DC.

However, after reading this blog on latimes.com, you might want to stay away from stray pets for a while. Especially in Iraq.

Apparently, the rule for troops about wild animals in Iraq is very clear: Leave them alone, no matter how cute they are. But what’s a soldier, missing his pets from home, to do? One young Marine could not resist a stray cat in an Iraqi village. As he was holding the cat, the animal went on a biting and scratching jag, “striking the Marine in a vulnerable spot”. The Marine ended up being evacuated for medical care. He will certainly have some good stories about his war wounds.

Ex-Marine Kills Black Bear With Log: His “Bark” Is Worse Than His Bite

black bearI spent my formative years in a sleepy little hamlet north of Atlanta known as the only city in America that required all city residents to own a handgun. We all felt safe, and nervous, and protected, and just a little bit skittish. It was nice.

An hour-or-so north of my well-armed town was an even tinier hamlet: Helen. Designed to resemble a Bavarian village (seriously!), Helen is a draw for shop-happy grannies (thanks to its novelty) and outdoorsy types (thanks to its remoteness).

Evidently, ex-Marine Chris Everheart (not a shop-happy granny) was camping near Helen with his three children when a 300-pound bear snuck into their campsite. When the bear lunged for Everheart’s six-year-old boy, the former military man “picked up a log and threw it at it. It happened to hit the bear in the head. I thought it just knocked it out but it actually ended up killing the bear.” Everhart was later cited for not storing his food properly.

No doubt Everheart’s boys are bragging to all their friends: “My daddy can beat up a black bear!” It’s cool now, kids, but wait’ll you try to sneak in after curfew and daddy’s eyes start gleaming…

[Via Get Outdoors]