in reply to Perl as one's first programming language
Perl features that make Perl a good first language:
Perl features that make Perl a poor first language:
Of course, good instruction can take care of all the negatives.
Personally, as much as its blasphemy here, I think Python is one of the best languages for learning about programming -- that's a good bit of what it was designed for, after all. That said, though, one could certainly do much worse than Perl.
And don't get me started on introducing programming by using Java -- I think that idea is perpetuated by instructors that want to keep people out of the field.