For stand-alone programming in a dynamic language,
there is always Scheme.
For me nothing beats Ruby for getting something up and running when the requirements are uncertain and flexible. The cost in resource consumption is balanced off by the ease in writing and maintaining the application (all servers and web stuff for me). However once the amount of data getting thrown around gets beyond a certain point the resource consumption becomes an issue. A bigger box does not mean that the application will run significantly faster.
I am in the process of converting some code from Ruby to Lua and both the elapsed time for the application and the memory consumption are a whole order of magnitude less, something that at this point cannot be achieved in Ruby by optimising the code. The Lua code is not significantly longer now that the process has been nailed down in Ruby. But it is much more verbose and has several parts that have to replicate things that come for free with Ruby. Ruby hides a lot of the magic, Lua lays it all bare.
Ruby also has pretty much standardised it's libraries. With Lua I find myself having to spend time evaluating the various logging libraries (for example) which don't quite do what I want and I end up thinking that writing my own would be a better use of my time (a.k.a. "the curse of lisp" and also "yak shaving")
Finally I'm not confident that I could have been as quick and flexible if I had developed the application in Lua from the start. It's easy to write code in Ruby, so it becomes easier to throw it away too. The sunk cost of writing my own logging library would weigh heavily, it's probably an ego thing :)