I think Haskell is pretty cool. At least in the sense of if anybody claims that OO is the end-all of everything, you can say no, functional programming is, tell them that Haskell is better than any OO language, and then you won't have to hear back from them for ten years as they try to understand how a list could possibly have an infinite number of elements.
I think right now that Perl 6 is pushing the awesomeness and coolness envelope pretty far.
let's say VB and C#.. you can't find a single cool language. each one complete the other one. VB it's easy, nice, pritty, easy to undertand.. less C# but if you combine them... you will be quite powerfull!
of course there are many other programming language not only VB and C# but in comparation with others this 2 has more opened windws. lets pick C# you can do what you want: games, multimedia, web, scripts... if you combine ASP (like vb) with C# you will have good web programming.
so.. i stay on my opinon VB + C#
maby in a few years i will change that for Macromedia FLex
Simplicity for large-scale apps. Let's face it, I'll build my messenger in VB before you will build yours in C. Now, if you take into account the ACTUAL LANGUAGE, well, you're right... VB sucks. It lacks the power of pointers (excluding AddressOf, but it's not really a pointer per se), it requires runtimes, AND it usually produces a larger .exe than needs be..... HOWEVER, you can put some serious power behind VB with API calls and the use of AddressOf.... Anyway, The answer to your question is: Simplicity.
JaVa MaN! It's object oriented, it's safe, it's fun, it's easy to learn, it's JSE, JEE, JME, backed by SUN, jacked by gAteZ, highly portable, the industry luvs it, craves it, it's on demand baby! It was an Oak,but now it's a Bean~gOTjaVa?