On my system it automatically loads the correct mode and syntax highlighting (even when launched with -Q), but here are some suggestions:
;; try syntax highlighting always, no matter what mode
I know enough lisp to get by, but being a vim user, I don't speak emacese very well; here are a few useful references:
FreeBSD Developers handbook, Using Emacs as an IDE
How to turn on syntax highlighting
; from some gnu emacs related faq
Thou shalt check the array bounds of all strings (indeed, all arrays), for surely where thou typest ``foo'' someone someday shall type ``supercalifragilisticexpialidocious''.