The best ping story I've ever heard was told to me at a USENIX conference, where a network administrator with an intermittent Ethernet had linked the ping program to his vocoder program, in essence writing:
ping goodhost | sed -e 's/.*/ping/' | vocoder
He wired the vocoder's output into his office stereo and turned up the volume as loud as he could stand. The computer sat there shouting "Ping, ping, ping..." once a second, and he wandered through the building wiggling Ethernet connectors until the sound stopped. And that's how he found the intermittent failure.