Interesting post. Indeed Ruby is very elegant and crystal clear, that's one of its biggest strengths, imho.
"You know how Perl lets you bash out a five line program that tweaks data in a specific way and spits it out? Well, Ruby lets you do that too. Except that you can read it afterwards."
^ Agreed 100%
I recently wrote a quick overview mainly focusing on Ruby's syntactical beauty:
Performance and speed... well, that will come. Definitely 1.9 is going to be faster, that's for sure!