in reply to Ruby Before Perl? Nah.
Have you, by chance, put this up at a Ruby-focused site? I'd be interested to read comments on it from entrenched Ruby folks.
In any case, thanks for sharing. I haven't ventured outside Perl much since PHP, but if I were going to explore for the sake of exploring, I might sally forth into Ruby territory. I appreciate your scouting.
On the topic of variable appearance: I've been thinking for a while that Perl's references obscure the old useful sigils. That's just my hobby horse, however.