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dom86 suggested checking the character set used, like (or maybe nowadays UTF-8):
<META HTTP-EQUIV="Content-Type" CONTENT="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1">
© Zak ;0)
html is deemed so silly
Really? I had no idea.
I don't understand what the doctype has to do with the original problem about the displaying. Doctype is needed for validating the html.
Doctypes do a lot more than just facilitate validation. They tell the browser how and why to interpret all sorts of things in both the html source and css file and this can make a HUGE difference in how a page renders cross-browser. Without the doctype browsers are free to interpret as they see fit; with the doctype they are forced (in most cases) to interpret according to the guidelines of the doctype.
There are so many reasons to add a doctype to every page. This thread points out another minor one.