1) The exact syntactical rules don't matter that much, because once you get used to Ruby, it feels natural to write code in a certain way. I'm sure Python is even more unusual from Perl's point of view. I have never had a problem with the problem you present in Ruby. And finishing each intermediary line in a multi-line expression with an operator is a good practice
2) Ruby doesn't need 'use strict' the way Perl does, because in Ruby uninitialized variables don't 'spring to life' when referenced. Variables must be initialized before use, otherwise you get an exception. In this sense Ruby is very much like Lisp, and you don't hear people complaining about the lack of the 'strict' module in Lisp.