Topic: Ruby/Rails suggestion ... good for general unix shell, database & web?

Apologies for length, hope more details will avoid having to post more details as follow-up. Gist of my post: Would learning Ruby and Ruby on Rails, given my education, career goals and general computer use needs be a good time investment or should I look at learning a few different languages instead? My main focus is for general use, for career might or might not need.

Have a Liberal Arts major, wanting to work in corporate communicaitons. Just seen some job postings with what seems to be *basic* web-programming skills as a requirment. I figure Ruby + my existing web programming skills won't hurt in my application. I figure requirment is basic HTML knowledge to update web pages. To this end, is Ruby being used more in the corporate world to replace PHP. Would Ruby (on Rails?) be a good thing to have on my resume. I personally dislike PHP syntax and would rather avoid learning it. I want something to put on my resume, say I know the language (somewhat) well.

I've dabbled in C++ as hobbyist (love the syntax, but objects and memory handling among other frustrating me and I don't need scale of langauge for huge apps) and Perl (looked at it briefly and found syntax not 'C' like enough and its turned me away). I want something to replace these two lanaguages and PHP. Ruby seems to do the trick (and after reading about and the syntax for about an hour, I think I found something that suits my thinking pattern, limitation as a programmer and addresses all my needs). I'm not looking to make super-complex programs and am not a professional programmer nor do I aspire to be its somewhat of a hobby.

Ruby, as I've read though is sort of an all eggs in the basket solution. It can do shell and web programming. I use OS X and want a general shell scripting language with reg ex. I hate Bash. And its stupid, IMO, to just learn SED, AWK, or GRAWK, if I can tie everything in one Ruby script.  I need reg ex for personal use (and probably later for professional as I am a researcher). I need to process large volumes of information and input and extract it from a database using SQL. Would it be a good idea to learn Ruby really well ("master" it) for this purpose in place of other languages?  I read of several Pros replacing Perl scripts with Ruby because its more easily maintained and easier to read as well.

I can't find any info easily on Rails or Ruby vs. PHP. Some of the Rails-based sites on the web look interesting, I know its just starting to take off. It seems its just as flexible as PHP and can make the same kind of sites (tying the DB access to the website, etc).  How do the two compare? Can one do something the other can't?

I was looking at buying The Ruby Way: Solutions and Techniques in Ruby Programming, Second Edition by Hal Fulton. I like the layout, style, the content and it covers all the areas I need. And its $30 (Canadian) instead of $60 to $80 for most programming books . I don't like style of O'Reilly books. Some Amazon reviews say the book has many typos. Good book, or recommend something else?