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Straying off-topic, but:
> I like the python runtime model but I'm not fond of syntax that cares
> about white space and haven't had occasion to personally take it up.
*Everyone* says this when they first look at Python (Haskell, too).
*Almost everyone* who finally tries Python (or Haskell) soon
comes to realize that indentation-based syntax actually works
(The same is largely true for Lisp and "all those parentheses".)
Try Python. Don't let the whitespace rules scare you off;
this isn't like FORTRAN, Python's layout system is well-designed
and easy to work with.