I originally posted this on drupal.org here but I wrote it, so here it is.
I just ran into a fun problem: I installed a VMware LAMP appliance and it turns out it doesn't have lynx, links, curl, or wget. What to do? Luckily, it has perl. The following perl script grabs cron.php from localhost and prints the job's status to STDOUT.
*** The previous line contains the naughty word "$&".
if /(ibm|apple|awk)/; # :-)