thanks for the suggestion. i tried it out and it doesn't seem to work yet so i'm going to back up and see if there's something important that i didn't mention.
My understanding is that a packet will only hit the forward chain if it is destined for another host. The packets i'm trying to redirect are destined for my computer, therefore they wouldn't pass through the rule you suggested I use (??) Maybe I'm just confused...
Anyway, for good measure I also tried adding a rule to the filter:input chain that opened port 80 and 1024... still no success.
Perhaps I should also mention that I'm not doing this from scratch... I'm using kmyfirewall to do most of the dirty work. The entire script is here: http://dark-code.bulix.org/g0a3ob-61329?raw
The important lines #s are 78, 93, and 140. Maybe it's doing something else I can't decipher and screwing the whole thing up?
Also, I tried following the link you suggested but I think it's a link to my original post. The Bulletin engine really should check for things like infinite loops ;-)
Thanks again for the help!