I alternated from nation to nation like the currents I created
Eventually, I became a Serbian in New York
An infantry of patents would be my brainchildren
Of course, its a shame that Thomas would steal my originator title
He smeared my name when he shocked the elephant
The nerve of his bullying
Electricity still became my forte and I wouldn’t coil under pressure
I wish things would’ve been better than feeding pigeons and being alone
My body would be sent to Belgrade (Beograd) where I would be a hero
Thomas, you may have won the popularity contest, but you’d be nothing without me
Wouldn’t it be funny if someone drove something with my name on it?
Here’s the first example of someone who was ripped off by someone famous. It is none other than the Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla. Some of his works include the Tesla Coil, early X-rays, and he was an innovator in electricity, namely the concept of alternating currents (AC). One Thomas Edison mangled his idea and made direct currents. Tesla was an employee at the time and had his patents stolen and not to mention he was shortchanged in pay by the (not)inventor of the lightbulb. It’s interesting that Tesla has been getting more mainstream attention in history since he was the underdog in that story. I also hope people get the joke in the last line in the poem.
Here’s some interesting facts:
Smiljan is actually in modern-day Croatia.
Also, I didn’t learn about Nikola Tesla in school. The first time I heard about him was by a certain musician named Ronnie Martin, but some of you may know him by his experimental synth pop one man band Joy Electric. When I found out more about Tesla afterwords, I thought “Wow, this song makes so much more sense now!” (side note: Hello Mannequin is my favorite JE album and was one of my favorite albums during my high school years).
The photo of Nikola Tesla is from the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
“Nikola Tesla” is by Joy Electric and is property of Tooth & Nail Records.
Falling from the empyrean
They managed to ascend on the earth
Their names were in lights with infinitesimal points
The innovators pushed to the side from the emulations with their ways and mores of supine larceny
Denials echo as earworm choruses worldwide with tunes, moving pictures, and museums
The masses become allured now knowing or caring that these were imitations
Originator, suffer not the true catalysts of Innovare
Penniless and undermined
The descendants want to demand restitution
Some emulations were honest, yet it was worse with excuses for the trendiest prints of ignored canvases
Imitation isn’t the sincerest form of flattery. It’s only the sincerest form of laziness.
You want to get on my bad side quickly? Try ripping someone off so shamelessly. I think that explains this track and my real life feelings in a nutshell. Sincerest Form of Laziness is a steel drum interlude of sorts that transitions from one section of Dear Innovare to the next. The first several tracks were about so many pioneers, but from here on out this is going to involve several people who had their works shamelessly copied whether it was attempted or sadly involving cases where the clones become more popular than the originals. Expect several truth bombs in musical and/or poetic form.
This meme is from some e cards.
An unmarked grave is where my mortal frame rests, yet my inventions let people sleep in style
Wooden frames and canopies were built for luxury and durability where commoners can sleep like kings and queens even to this day
While Ohio and Kentucky weren’t always kind to me, I knew I had to have a twin set of endurance
My ethic, diligence, and carpentry had to see me through and spring into action
Brothers, sister, your freedom was paid for from my classy beds patent or not
They saw my name on every frame
I wish my company would’ve withstood the flames of envious arsonists
I would free those who were like me
My life has been used for the greater good
Let me rest
Here’s another case of a former slave doing for self. This is Henry Boyd. The Kentucky-born and later Ohio-based man would become a carpenter/furniture maker in his own right. He crafted some of the fanciest beds around that nowadays are worth a pretty penny in antique form. However, he deserved better. His businesses went ablaze by jealous racists. I would bet you those same people would be the ones to tell black people to pick themselves up by their bootstraps (how ironic and fallacious).
Here’s a fact about the acousmatics of this piece. I used a pair of drumsticks to hit different parts of my own bed and mattress to create the percussive soundscapes before multitracking them.
The photo of Henry Boyd is from the Northern Kentucky Tribune.
America, you needed to be cleaned up in so many ways
I was only one man, but I had to make things right on a twofold account
I started with your laundry
There would be a new kind of care for your clothes and I did it in a dry fashion like you’ve never seen before
Millions of businesses would be created because of me
Next came real freedom fighters
The bread I got from my invention
Went towards those who wanted every man, woman, and child
To be free and equal
Its more than what a piece of paper could say
I hope they keep on fighting
How does it feel seeing a man like me being the first of his community to own a patent?
Dry cleaning isn’t the most exciting thing to talk about which we can all agree on. What did get fascinating was who invented that form of laundry maintenance and how the funds were used afterwards. This is Thomas Jennings. He was a freeman who mainly worked as a tailor. He created a method called dry scouring which is the archetype for dry cleaning. He actually used the money to buy the freedom of other slaves in America which I massively respect on so many levels. Imagine how many businesses were and still are created today. Also, Thomas Jennings is the first African-American to receive a patent which is even more important in hindsight because he did this before it became illegal for black people to get patents (we’ll talk about that in other posts) before it was reinstated that anyone can make a patent regardless of ethnic stock.
Think about these things the next time you have to get your fancy suits or dresses to the dry cleaning shop.
The image of Thomas Jennings is from Post News Group.
His mom’s heart stopped beating
Those tears were enabling
To ensure every heart can keep
Beating at healthy paces
Keep on building
So many robberies and extortion
Plagued many businesses
The front end would take the
Brunt of it until he improved
On those registers
Keep on building
Monitors, keyboards, and programming
Would craft into a high-tech archetype
For an eventual household and office item
Games, research, and work can be done
Nothing personal, just a computer
Keep on building
This edition of Ospreyshire Origins involves the inventor Otis Boykin. He’s got a bunch of patents under his belt. These verses deal with some of his major works such as the pacemaker in verse 1, cash registers in verse 2, and IBM computers in the final verse. It’s only the tip of the iceberg as he also created electric resisters and other innovations. This song was also an Ospreyshire first as it incorporated a lap dulcimer as a main instrument for an acoustic vibe.
This photo of Otis Boykin is from the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
No one ever believed the blind could be restored to see
Those were saved for fairy tales
Science had to be called into change reality and several lives
It took a woman’s touch to make it happen
There would be an innovative way to wash the blindness away
Under medical watch and an array of lasers
This medical maven would shape reality
First was oblivion
Then came walking trees
Next was technicolor sight
No spit was involved
But technology and pure scientific grit
The eyes have it now (X3)
Much like the previous track, this is a one-two punch of female innovators. This track is about the ophthalmologist Dr. Patricia Bath. She invented the Laserphaco probe. That’s a device that was able to remove cataracts via laser technology and it has proven to restore sight with new lenses. This invention also makes Dr. Bath the first African-American woman to have a medical patent to her name which is another plus. Imagine how many people would be permanently blind without her creation? From a musical standpoint, I wanted to have more of a peaceful and ambient feel while I picture someone getting their sight regained. It was soothing doing the programming for that recording.
The picture of Dr. Patricia Bath is from The Scientist Magazine.
More watchful eyes had to be manufactured
Whether hidden or overt, security had to be in order
All it took was the technological genius
Cameras became placed
Ruffians would think twice before invading
Under those watchful cybernetic eyes
The Originator blessed this woman to utilize these cameras
Those eyes will live on
Closed circuits, open mind
This is the first song/poem I wrote involving a female inventor. This one is about Marie Van Brittan Brown. She is the inventor of security cameras and CCTV. She invented it back in 1966 which made her WAY ahead of her time with that invention. It’s a shame how people have abused and misused it, Brown was able to create this system for home surveillance to protect people. Such a concept was certainly unheard of and I’m sure lives were saved using that device. Never underestimate a woman when she’s inventing something!
The picture of Marie Van Brittan Brown is from Timeline.
A World War and racial segregation
Wasn’t going to stop me from saving lives
Soldiers were dying
I knew how to innovate in times like these
And even my enemies at home had to bank on it
Every type was given to me to save lives
I chilled the sources and stored them for emergencies
Next, came the samples as cargo on the go
To hospitals and beyond
15,000 in the UK alone
Better thank my inventions for saving their lives
Too bad my employer threw racist pseudoscience
As to who got transfusions or not
I would be cut off from this world
But my method of saving lives continues
Isn’t it a shame when people who literally save lives never get credit for their heroism? It’s no wonder why I have superhero fatigue since more people know who Iron Man, Superman, and Captain America are than this doctor. Like most of the people Dear Innovare focuses on, I didn’t know who Dr. Charles R. Drew was until long after I graduated from school (high school AND at the university level). Charles R. Drew invented the blood bank which continues to save lives through the process of blood transfusions. He came up with this concept during WWII and saved a ton of soldiers lives. Not only that, but he created the bloodmobile, so blood can be refrigerated and stored on the go to various hospitals or clinics. Unfortunately, there were racist idiots who denied the blood from black people even if it could save lives and Dr. Drew was disillusioned by this bigotry (he’s an African-American man, by the way). He died in a car crash at the age of 45 which is very tragic and not many people know his name. Don’t worry, Dr. Drew. I’ll make sure more people know who you are.
Side note: The title of the song is a reference to the Canadian band Lifestory: Monologue.
The image of Charles R. Drew is from Ferris State University.
Sisungule ithuluzi elisha
Leli thambo lizosiza abantu ukutui bafunde izinombolo
Singabaqambi bethuluzi elisha
In ancient times at the continent’s Southern points in the mountain range
We told time, counted the days, and tracked the moon
All it took was a baboon fibula tally by tally
We taught our people from the highest to lowest veldts
At least 44,000 years ago
This wasn’t decoration
This was for education as the Originator blessed us and those up north for our tools
I have to show South Africa some love here especially since this won’t be the only time I’ll mention things from that country when it comes to the content of this album. The Congo wasn’t the only nation to produce a calculator in ancient times. In the Lebombo mountains in what would eventually be South Africa and Eswatini (the country formally known as Swaziland), the natives created their own tally stick also using a baboon bone. That was certainly innovative and this needs to be better known because I literally can’t think of any history class I took in school that mentioned ancient African civilizations with the exception of a whitewashed Egypt or maybe a casual mention of Hannibal of Carthage (now modern-day Tunisia). See, there were important math elements in Africa among many other things. Major props to Dr. Y. for informing me about this lesser-known history!
The Lebombo Bone image is from Afrolegends.
I was the son of runaways, yet I would soon be the ignored father of electricity
Draft after draft, I would progress in my innovations despite the lack of praise
Gardens of inventions would be under my watch
They would certainly bloom
Trains would look like outhouses on wheels without me
I even drew up the first phone designs
Ask Alexander about that
Then came my electric lamp
Carbon would be king to shine brighter and longer
How well was a paper filament, Thomas?
I was an originator
The bigger One knows who I am when others give blank stares
This incandescent electric freeman lives whenever you turn a light on
Wait, so Thomas Edison wasn’t the real inventor of the (functioning) light bulb? Alexander Graham Bell relied on someone else for the archetype of the telephone? Yeah, I know you’re shocked, too.
Lewis Howard Latimer is completely slept on in the history books. He created so many inventions and drafts in several fields. His biggest invention was the carbon filament which is the main basis for light bulbs even to this day. Edison’s light bulb used a paper filament which was incredibly short lived. Latimer showed him how to do it right and proved carbon was king when it comes to lighting up things with his patented electric lamp. This isn’t the only song that critiques Edison on this album and I’ll get to that in future posts. Not only that, but he even was the first person in history to write a book on electric lighting. They certainly didn’t teach you that in school and I didn’t know about this innovator until 2018. Seriously! Also, MIT named an entire invention program after him, so at least they got that right.
His legacy lives on every time you flip a switch. You’re welcome, America!
What do you think? Don’t forget to stream and purchase the album!
The image of Lewis Howard Latimer is from Wikipedia.