(Copyright 2002 Al Aronowitz)


Subject: Undeliverable: Re: America Unite!
Date: Thu, 20 Dec 2001 07:09:12 -0500
From: System Administrator <>

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  To:      Open Minded
  Subject: Re: America Unite!
  Sent:    Thu, 20 Dec 2001 07:01:47 -0500

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Subject: Re: America Unite!
Date: Thu, 20 Dec 2001 07:01:47 -0500
From: al aronowitz <>
To: Open Minded <


Did this e really come from you?  What cause are you talking about?

Open Minded wrote:

The People Begin To Speak Out

On April 18, 1983 a martyr drove a van packed with explosives into the U.S. embassy in Beirut. Unfortunately, 63 died in relation to the cause.

On October 23, 1985, a martyr drove a truck packed with explosives, equivalent to the power of 18,000 pounds of dynamite, into the lobby of the Marines Corps headquarters in Beirut. Unfortunately 241 died in relation to the cause. Two miles away, on that same morning, a martyr drove a truck packed with explosives into a French barracks. Unfortunately 58 died in relation to the cause.

On February 26, 1993 the World Trade Center was bombed by Eyad Ismoil. Eyad was deprived of status as an Islamic martyr in that, against his will, he remains detained.

On August 7, 1998 a martyr devastated the US Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. Unfortunately, 214 died in relation to the cause. At about the same time another martyr bombed the US embassy in Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania.

On October 12, 2000, a martyr bombed the USS Cole. The British embassy in Sanaa, Yemens capital, was bombed the following day. Unfortunately, people died in relation to the cause. On October 16, 2000, Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh warned that these were deliberate events.

On September 11, 2001 the World Trade Center was destroyed by Osama Bin Ladens religious network, adding yet another vein of martyrs. Thousands died in relation to the cause.


Those of us educated by modern standards can see that the cause is to overcome underprivileged status.

Intellectuals recognize the above as mere symptoms of a much greater issue. Underprivileged people did not commit these acts, but rather, they expressed themselves in ways that plead for our support. Americas elite must now rally to help the masses in their plight. By our sitting idle, the retaliatory voice of a few could hold back the true strengths of our democracy.

LINK   ##

The asshole return email address was a phony! 

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Subject: George Harrison
Date: Mon, 17 Dec 2001 14:02:33 -0800
From: <>
To: <>

Dear Al,

Thank you so much for sharing your many stories of your time spent with George Harrison. George has always been a favorite person in my life, I'll miss him tremendously.

I look forward to any future memories with George you care to share. I also love the photos of George taken by your son. If there is any chance in having prints of these (would love to see more) at a reasonable price, please let me know.  

Om shanti om,

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Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2001 13:39:05 -0500
From: "Jonathan W. Lim" <>

Dear Al,

Loved your George Harrison article.  He was always my favorite. Can't wait to read more.  Hope you're well.  Happy holidays and all.

Jonathan  ##

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Subject: Re: [AGALIST] COLUMN 67
Date: Sat, 29 Dec 2001 19:43:59 EST

Dear Al,

Your George columns were absolutely wonderful.

Thank You so much for including my hastily-scribbled remembrances therein.

Tis an honor, as always, to be included,

Gary.  ##

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Subject: Rufus Thomas dead at 84
Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2001 15:52:31

From: "Jordan Green" <>

A giant of American popular music has left us. Rufus Thomas career cut across the middle of the 20th Century in Memphis, the funky mid-section of the country  from a start as a tap dancer in the vaudeville tent circuit in the 30s to disco performer as a partner to Chaka Khan on the hit, Tell Me Something Good. Thomas career made a critical encounter with rock and roll (his was the first single issued by Sun Records), but he retained a bitter and critical stance towards the music since the label sidelined black performers in favor of Elvis. But his real impact would come later with the birth of Stax Records in 1960. His 1968 cut, Memphis Train, is seminal funk. Rufus Thomas is the no-nonsense cat dressed in wrap-around shades and a pork pie hat taking care of business on the cover of Peter Guralnick's classic music history, *Sweet Soul Music*. Rufus Thomas. Singer. Dancer. DJ. Humanitarian. Critic. Scene-Maker. Raconteur. He will be greatly missed. Heres the obituary from the Memphis Commercial Appeal:

Rufus Thomas, Memphis music treasure, dies at 84

By Bill Dries and Bill Ellis (Dec. 16)

The world's oldest teenager died Saturday at the age of 84. Rufus Thomas was one of the city's most influential and colorful entertainers, with a career that spanned more than 70 years.

During that time, he was never far from the pulse of the city's storied musical heritage - whether as a pioneering disc jockey at WDIA in the late 1940s or performing before a hometown crowd at the Memphis in May Beale Street Music Festival just last year.

"W.C. Handy wrote the blues a long time ago," the octogenarian and writer of the classic song Walking the Dog told the crowd that night. "He passed them on to me, and now I'm passing them on to you."

The entertainer's son, Marvell Thomas, said his father died of apparent heart failure around 3 a.m. Saturday at Saint Francis Hospital after being hospitalized since Thanksgiving. He had undergone open-heart surgery in 1998.

"This is the end of an era, and the world will miss him dearly," his son said.

Though known for many novelty dance hits like Do the Funky Chicken, Mr. Thomas had a diverse career that extended beyond his funny signature tunes and side-splitting one-liners.

If anyone could claim to be the guru of Memphis black music from blues and R&B to soul and funk, Rufus Thomas could. He helped kick-start the city's two seminal record labels - Sun and Stax - along the way.

"He was one of the pioneers of Memphis music," said Jimmy Ogle, director of the Rock 'N' Soul Museum, which features Mr. Thomas prominently.

"He visited the museum quite a bit. He was quite an accessible person," Ogle said. "The old footage of him at WDIA is really neat to see. It's still fresh."

Mr. Thomas was an entertainer with an authentic vaudeville pedigree. He claimed to be the "funkiest man alive" and often wore disco-era short pants and boots.

He used his vaudeville roots not only to sing his hits but always involve his audiences in the good time he was having on stage. Sun Records founder Sam Phillips said in an interview last year that Mr. Thomas was a "consummate showman."

While the self-proclaimed "world's oldest teenager" taught audiences to dance, he also taught young musicians how to entertain.

That work ethic influenced those in the vanguard of the city's soul music scene of the 1960s and 1970s. The musicians, many who worked with Mr. Thomas at the dawn of their careers in the 1960s and '70s, didn't believe in tuning up on stage or ignoring the audience. Like their mentor, they came to play and to entertain.

His philosophy toward the music helped define the legendary status of the city's two best-known record labels.

"It's all deep bottom, all from feeling deep inside," he said. "You've got to feel it."

At WDIA-AM, Mr. Thomas spun blues records at an important time in the popularization of black music with American youth. (He was honored in 1998 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for those achievements.) Until recently, Mr. Thomas even maintained a show every Saturday at WDIA.

Mr. Thomas also emceed amateur talent contests on Beale Street in the 1940s and '50s at the old Palace Theater, where he helped launch the careers of B. B. King, Bobby 'Blue' Bland and others who competed for a prize of a few dollars.

King fondly recalled decades later that the meager cash prize helped sustain his sometimes battered musical ambitions when he first came to Memphis in the late 1940s.

In 1953, Mr. Thomas gave new label Sun its first big hit, Bear Cat " an answer song to Big Mama Thornton's Hound Dog that was perhaps too close for comfort since Sun was sued over the similarity.

Mr. Thomas also was there at Satellite when it formed, giving it its first big hit, the 1960 duet with daughter Carla Thomas called 'Cause I Love You. That song sparked a distribution deal with Atlantic that soon gave the world the label under its better-known name, Stax.

At Stax, Mr. Thomas had some of the label's most memorable songs, a string of novelty classics that included Walking the Dog, Do the Funky Chicken, Can Your Monkey Do the Dog?, (Do the) Push and Pull, Breakdown and Do the Funky Penguin.

Many artists, including the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith, have recorded his songs.

Until an illness in November, he continued to perform and he never talked of retirement.

"I ain't old," he said just before his 60th birthday in 1976. "You don't get old when you are doing what you love and enjoying every minute of it in the process. Getting old is all in the mind."

More than most, Mr. Thomas saw - and helped initiate - nearly a century of music from his Memphis vantage point.

Born in Cayce, Miss., in 1917, Mr. Thomas was raised in Memphis and began his career as a vaudeville performer, tap dancing as a teen in the 1930s in the Rabbit Foot Minstrels. With Robert 'Bones' Couch, Rufus and Bones became a popular local comedy act.

Decades later, Mr. Thomas could summon dozens of the routines that he began performing for 50 cents a night in tents and at private homes without a sound system.

"You really had to have some kind of voice and I could scream loud with any of them," he would remember.

Mr. Thomas used that voice not only to entertain, but as a guardian of the city's musical heritage.

When a group of Chicago musicians and promoters once claimed at a press conference in Memphis that their city was the birthplace of the blues, Mr. Thomas firmly and loudly contradicted them.

He was also an outspoken advocate in behalf of some of the city's forgotten musical figures and was critical of Sun Records founder Sam Phillips for the label's shift to white performers that came with Phillips's discovery of Elvis Presley. Innately Memphis, Mr. Thomas never hesitated to mention the harsh racial climate that helped shape the Memphis sound - beloved around the world for its soul and earthy feel.

In his later years, Mr. Thomas appeared in virtually every documentary made about any aspect of Memphis music. His realistic assessment of the city made him an ambassador for the city.

Known for energetic and witty live shows, Mr. Thomas performed at the 1996 Olympic Games and played several times in Porretta, Italy, where he was a headliner at its annual soul festival and where a park is named in his honor.

Locally, a stretch of Hernando Street between Beale and Peabody Place is called Rufus Thomas Boulevard. The section of street, with a marker honoring Mr. Thomas, runs by the corner where the Palace Theater once stood.

When city leaders set aside an "honorary" parking place on the street for him, Mr. Thomas immediately made it more than honorary by parking his car there whenever he was in the entertainment district.

An 80th birthday bash at the Orpheum in 1997 featured B. B. King, plus Stax peers William Bell and J. Blackfoot.

Said Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton at the event, "I can't talk about Rufus locally. I must talk about him globally."

Mr. Thomas also recorded for the Alligator label (1988's *That Woman Is Poison*), and locally Ecko, (the Olympics set, Rufus Live!) and the 1999 High Stacks disc, *Swing Out with Rufus Thomas.*

In recent years Mr. Thomas's profile extended into film. He was featured in the 1989 Jim Jarmusch cult hit *Mystery Train*. He also had a part in the 1996 film *A Family Thing*, which was filmed in Memphis and starred James Earl Jones and Robert Duvall. Mr. Thomas is also in the Sun documentary *Good Rockin' Tonight* that aired last month.

Mr. Thomas also performed with Prince at the latter's invitation in 1997 at a New Daisy Theater show.

Funeral arrangements are pending. R.S. Lewis & Sons Funeral Home has charge.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to The Rufus Thomas Scholarship Fund, c/o The Community Foundation, 1900 Union Ave., Memphis, TN 38104.

In addition to his son, Marvell, and his daughter, Carla, Mr. Thomas, the husband of the late Lorene Thomas, leaves another daughter, Vaneese Thomas, of Pound Ridge, N.Y. and a granddaughter.,1426,MCA_437_910773,00.html  ##

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