A half truth, the whole truth is Lotus Notes is of course email, calendar/schedule, personal information manager but it's also:
A Customizable UI, put panels where you want on your 3 screen setup
Flexible views and customizations on a basic level, deeper if you are so inclined
Runs GTD (Getting Things Done) eProductivity
A Widget Player
Instant Messaging client
Wedding lists, invites, addresses and gift registry
Home Inventory (for insurance purposes or just good to know)
Grocery List Minder
Kids school lunches for the month
Listing of Irish Pubs around the world
Maintains all household details
Stores tax returns
Secure ID which saves all your details from prying eyes
Phone Call Logs
Mail Logs(important in Law, Medical, Accounting firms)
Form depository for everything from parking space requests to IDs to computer hardware or health insurance
CRM - Go to Openntf.org and search for this and more.
For more ideas and discussions see Ed Brill's original post.
None of these require a Lotus Domino Server if you want to use a POP3 or IMAP email service.
And it will synch to your phone/Blackberry as well from your desktop.
Oh and Lotus Notes isn't dead, not now, not then, and Lotusphere is renewed for the next few years in Orlando AND R9 is planned already.
So if you really believe Lotus Notes is about email, maybe you just don't really understand what your email could be a part of in your life.