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Original song Both Sides, Now
Original artist Joni Mitchell
Filk author Guy L. Steele Jr.

Both Ways, Now

[to be sung to the tune of
Both Sides, Now]

Decimal digits in a row,
Just set the dials and let 'er go.
The ENIAC was grossly slow --
I used to code that way,
But then this Fortran came along;
I danced and sang a happy song:
So natural -- what could go wrong?
I little knew, that day!
I've looked at Fortran both ways, now,
At II and IV, and still somehow,
It's rows of numbers I recall;
I really don't know Fortran at all.

Fortran IV is real good stuff,
But business hackers have it tough;
For them this Fortran's not enough --
Then Cobol saved the day!
But now I sing a sad refrain;
This Cobol loss is no one's gain,
And writing programs is a pain
(I get writer's cramp that way!)
I've looked at Cobol both ways, now,
I code in it, and still somehow,
It's FORMAT statements I recall;
I really don't know Cobol at all.

Cobol will for business do;
Accounts and payroll make it through
(And bills for zero dollars too --
I get them every day!)
But those who hack symbolic frobs
Cannot make do with Cobol jobs,
And now I sing through anguished sobs,
But Lisp is here to stay.
I've looked at Lisp code both ways, now,
At lambda forms, and still somehow,
It's Cobol statements I recall;
I really don't know Lisp at all.

-- The Great Quux
(with apologies to Joni Mitchell)

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