I think I just hosed this machine completely.
Oh well, it was almost time to blow it out and reinstall it anyway. ;)
Apparently I did this wrong somehow:
sudo chown -R root:root *
It seemed to take awhile, but I thought it just chewing on the bayesian spam database (ie .spamassassin) I had just cp'd from another users home. So I bg'd it. It started complaining about being unable to change /proc entries a few moments later, and died. I tried to mutt (to see if spama was working) and got told I couldn't read /var/mail/adric. Uh, oh.
I su'd up. Everything (before proc) is now owned by root. I fixed the /home dirs, and my mail dir, but .. there's no way of reverting the perms changes I inadvertedly made. Hosed. Another one lost to imprudent use of wildcards when root.
Uh, techaholic? *smile* /home is okay, but the rest needs a fresh new coat of sarge ;)