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News of the Weird 9/7/17

By the Editors at Andrews McMeel

Wait, What? The People’s Liberation Army Daily, a Chinese state-run military newspaper, has declared on its WeChat account that fewer Chinese youth are passing fitness tests to join the army because they are too fat and masturbate too much, resulting in abnormally large testicular veins. The web article cited one town’s statistics, where 56.9 percent of candidates were rejected for failing to meet physical requirements. China’s military quickly beat down the article’s assertion, saying: “The quality of our recruits is guaranteed, and the headwaters of our military will flow long and strong.”

The Entrepreneurial Spirit Police in Osnabruck, Germany, stopped a vehicle on Aug. 19 and found an unusual trove of drugs inside: Plastic bags filled with about 5,000 ecstasy pills, with a street value of about $46,000 — all in the shape of Donald Trump’s head. The orange tablets depicted Trump’s signature sweep of hair and his rosebud mouth. An unnamed 51-year-old man and his son, 17, also had a large sum of cash and were taken into custody.

Cultural Diversity The Japanese funeral industry demonstrated its forward thinking on Aug. 23 when practitioners gathered for the Life Ending Industry Expo in Tokyo. Among the displays was a humanoid robot named Pepper who can conduct a Buddhist funeral, complete with chanting and tapping a drum. Pepper is a collaboration between SoftBank and Nissei Eco Co., which wrote the chanting software. Michio Inamura, Nissei’s executive adviser, said the robot could step in when priests are not available.

•Also at the Life Ending Industry Expo in Tokyo, four undertakers competed on stage as funeral music played to see who could best display the ancient skills of ritually dressing the dead. The Shinto religion in Japan believes that the dead are impure just after death and that dressing the body purifies the spirit. The contestants dressed live human volunteers and were observed by three judges. Rino Terai, who won the contest, said, “I practiced every day to prepare for this competition.”

•In Iran, the education department has banned people who are considered “ugly” from being teachers. The list of conditions and features that prevent one from being a teacher includes facial moles, acne, eczema, scars and crossed eyes. Also on the list of unsavory conditions are cancer, bladder stones or color-blindness, none of which can be observed by others.

FAN-antic Jeffrey Riegel, 56, of Port Republic, New Jersey, left ‘em laughing with his obituary’s parting shot at the Philadelphia Eagles. In it, Riegel asked that eight Eagles players act as pallbearers, “so the Eagles can let me down one last time.” Riegel owned season tickets for 30 years, during which the Eagles never won a Super Bowl.

Inexplicable An Arkansas Highway Patrol officer spotted “an unusual sight” on Aug. 23 on I-30: a black Hummer with a casket strapped to the top of it. When the officer pulled over Kevin M. Cholousky, 39, of Van Buren, Arkansas, he took off and led police on a chase along I-530, where his vehicle was eventually stopped by road spikes. Although the casket was empty, Cholousky was charged in Pulaski County with fictitious tags, reckless driving and fleeing.

Latest Religious Messages Sonogram photos are notoriously difficult to decipher, but one couple in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, are sure theirs shows a man watching over their unborn daughter. “When they gave it to us … Umm, to me, it’s Jesus. And it looks like Jesus,” said mom Alicia Zeek. She and father Zac Smith have two older children, both born with birth defects, and the image is putting them at ease about their third child. “Once … we looked at the picture, I was like — look, babe, we have nothing to worry about,” Smith said.