On Sep 14, 2005, at 7:12 PM, x1 wrote:
>     def first_name(era)
>         part = "Cassius" if era == "before"
>         part = "Muhammad" if era == "after"
>         return part
>     end

A general suggestion on code, unrelated to your question. (I know you  
said "excuse the logic", but just in case)

def first_name( era )
     case era
         when "before" then "Cassius"
         when "after" then "Muhammad"
     end
end

But of course, if you have three methods with almost the same logic,  
they should probably be a single method for DRY purposes.