"Things You Wouldn't Know If We Didn't Blog Intermittently."
Isn't the rule "when it sounds like ee, e before i"? That reduces the number of exceptions quite a bit (but not to zero, as evidenced by receive).
Darnit, I switched the e and the i there. Anyhow, this has got to be the least useful rule of thumb for English spelling ever, lol.
'i' before 'e', except after 'c', or when pronounced like long 'a', as in 'neighbor' and 'weigh' - as me taught by the School Sisters of Notre Dame.
Brian Regan had a hilarious but about this in his standup routine from ca. the early 1990's.