good chemistry is complicated,
and a little bit messy -LW
All languages have their points of strength and weakness except for Perl which is more of a religion than a programming language and has not faults whatsoever :-)
Now that you have my biases firmly stated here are some opinions
Some Perl strengths:
1 Mature language with most of the major bugs ironed out, Python is not. Also Perl has excellent cross platform compatibility - porting is usually a breeze. Oops where is some wood to knock on?
2 CPAN provides a huge *free* repository of quality, tested code to perform almost any task you can think of. There is nothing comparitive for Python.
3 The Perl culture means that a newly annointed saint such as myself will offer their time for free and gratis to someone called supernewbie ;-) The peer support within the Perl community is second to none - this will be a hard act to follow.
4 Perl can be an imperitive, procedural, functional or object oriented language depending on what you want. As a result you can do almost anything in it and better still as your skills grow Perl will continue to deliver.
Perl's major disadvantages are:
1 It is not a trendy newkid on the block.
2 TIMTOWDI and the syntax mean you can write very obfuscated Perl, without even trying - see my sig for instance. It is also very easy to get a script working (Perl or Python) which means that there is a lot of bad code out there - see Matt's Script Archive for some popular all time classics. There will be plenty of crappy Python code in time ;-)
3 As a scripting language it is relatively slow for some tasks but with 1GHz processors (now) and 2GHz soon this is less of an issue every day. Komodo (A Perl IDE) from Active State is written in Python, so you can do major apps in scripting code although this is not without problem see Perl Builder 2.0 where we get onto Komodo which is dog slow on anything but a top range machine.