Problem solved in an equally bizarre manner.
Through sheer luck, I found the problem while pulling my hair out editing the file in MC.
Turns out there was some kind of "invisible" break after every line, I had to hit delete twice at the end of every line to delete the last character. I took off that last invisible character off of each line and the problem was gone.
another hurdle jumped.
ps- anyone ever seen that before? I downloaded the file off the net