Happy Birthday, Patton Oswalt!

Image courtesy of Flickr user Gage Skidmore

You may know him as the voice of Remy, the amazing rat chef in Ratatouille, for his stand-up routines featured on Comedy Central, or for his role as Spence Olchin in King of Queens. But here are some things you might not know about Patton Oswalt, who happens to be turning 43 today.

1. The comedian’s father, who was a Marine, named him after General Patton. ”He gave me the first name Patton, I'm assuming with very high hopes. When he saw me at age 15, rolling up my eighth Dungeons and Dragons character, he was like, ‘boy, I named this one wrong.’”

2. While most actors either seek artistic integrity or a big paycheck, Patton chooses his roles a little differently. According to Oswalt, "I'm in this business for two reasons: the money and the anecdotes. So I either want to be in the best films possible, and if I can't be in those then I want to be in the absolute worst films, because I want the stories. To me doing Ratatouille was just as valuable as doing Blade Trinity."

3. Despite having a famous rant about KFC’s Famous Bowl on his 2004 comedy album Feelin’ Kinda Patton, the comedian never actually tried the dish until the A.V. Club asked him to taste-test it four years later. His verdict? “It's goddamn horrible, this Famous Bowl.” Well, at least he gave it a shot.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Morton Fox

4. Just because he’s worked on something doesn’t mean you’ll see his name in the credits. That’s because Patton has a few aliases, including Schecky Chucklestein (which he’s used on a number of Adult Swim shows) and Ain’t It Cool News reviewer Neill Cumpston. There is also a bit of a debate as to whether or not he voiced the character of Randy on the game Dead Rising 2, which was credited to a John Murphy. Oswalt denies he worked on the game, but he also denied being Neill Cumpston for a long while.

5. He really does love Ratatouille—and not just the movie. Unfortunately, in an interview in 2010, he revealed that while he orders the dish on occasion, he’s been a little disappointed no chef has ever opted to bring him ratatouille on his or her own accord.

6. For most people, getting to star in a sex scene with one of the most gorgeous women in Hollywood would be a dream. But for Patton Oswalt, his love scene with Charlize Theron was terrifying. “Why do I have to be in my underwear next to the most physically perfect person on the planet? Why couldn’t I have been next to John Goodman or Michael Moore in their underwear?”

7. He's written for Batman and JLA (Justice League of America). He also moderated a panel for the reunion of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 cast at the 2008 Comic Con. Last year, he even released a hilarious semi-autobiography titled Zombie Spaceship Wasteland where he talks about growing up a nerd.

Anyway, if you happen to read this Mr. Oswalt, Happy Birthday from everyone here at mental_floss.

Matthew Simmons/Getty Images
How Accurate are Hollywood Medical Dramas? A Doctor Breaks It Down
Matthew Simmons/Getty Images
Matthew Simmons/Getty Images

Medical dramas like Grey's Anatomy get a lot of things wrong when it comes to the procedures shown on the screen, but unless you're a doctor, you'd probably never notice.

For its latest installment, WIRED's Technique Critique video series—which previously blessed us with a dialect coach's critique of actors' onscreen accents—tackled the accuracy of medical scenes in movies and TV, bringing in Annie Onishi, a general surgery resident at Columbia University, to comment on emergency room and operating scenes from Pulp Fiction, House, Scrubs, and more.

While Onishi breaks down just how inaccurate these shows and movies can be, she makes it clear that Hollywood doesn't always get it wrong. Some shows, including Showtime's historical drama The Knick, garner praise from Onishi for being true-to-life with their medical jargon and operations. And when doctors discuss what music to play during surgery on Scrubs? That's "a tale as old as time in the O.R.," according to Onishi.

Other tropes are very obviously ridiculous, like slapping a patient during CPR and telling them to fight, which we see in a scene from The Abyss. "Rule number one of CPR is: never stop effective chest compressions in order to slap or yell words of encouragement at the patient," Onishi says. "Yelling at a patient or cheering them on has never brought them back to life." And obviously, taking selfies in the operating room in the middle of a grisly operation like the doctors on Grey's Anatomy do would get you fired in real life.

There are plenty of cliché words and phrases we hear over and over on doctor shows, and some are more accurate than others. Asking about a patient's vitals is authentic, according to Onishi, who says it's something doctors are always concerned with. However, yelling "We're losing him!" is simply for added TV drama. "I have never once heard that in my real life," Onishi says.

[h/t WIRED]

#RateaSpecies? Zoos Share Amazon-Style Reviews of Animals on Twitter

The online rating system popularized by sites like Amazon and Yelp has finally reached the animal kingdom. As Earther reports, zoos, aquariums, and science museums are taking to Twitter to review fuzzy, scaly, and feathery specimens with the hashtag #rateaspecies.

The official Twitter account of the Oregon Zoo kicked off the trend on March 9 by tweeting out a picture of a river otter with a four-star review. "Overall very good first impressions," the tweet reads. "Sturdy built, totally winter-ready and waterproof. Only comes in brown but that’s actually a plus for me." Shervin Hess, who runs digital media at the zoo, told Earther he got the idea from an Amazon review he read that described hiking boots in a similar way.

He followed the tweet with reviews of other animals, each one receiving a four-star rating (Hess says he wouldn't consider giving an animal anything less). Soon other institutions on Twitter started jumping on the hashtag.

"High-quality squeak system, thrives in rocky situations," the Yosemite Conservancy wrote of the pika. It earned four stars despite being "maybe TOO cute" and a "potential pun hazard."

Check out more of the top-rated species below.

[h/t Earther]


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