I was thinking something along the same lines, but closer to how the Llama introduced perl.. Something along the lines of
Here is how you do X in Y
Here is the same in vanilla Perl
Here is the same in chocolate Perl
Here is the same in a bananasplit with nuts, cherries, and hot fudge Perl
This way they can grasp the basic flow, then you show them slight improvements on the algorithm in question, then move to builts ins, and using $_ or assuming you are working on $_, etc..
Best of luck on your conversion process..
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