you're right. this is a bad post. i was going on 24 hours of no sleep and i didn't test enough before i posted. i just tested a simplified version of the code and there's no problem with valign. for the sake of answering the question i'll post the code, but as i said, it works. this lazy method i'm using probably "breaks" the html somehow, because the tags in format.pl are right but the valign tag isn't getting picked up. or maybe i'm still smoking crack. anyway, i have to graduate to a better way of handling html on this one. thanks again for the suggestions and the ass-kicking. i know i'm loved.
#PRINT THE SUBMENU CONTENT FOR THE SELECTED MENU ITEM
open (FILE, $content) or die "Can't open file!";
my @scoop = <FILE>;
foreach my $sline(@scoop)