Re: jQuery & CSS Help...
Vertical alignment outside of a table cell isn't really defined in CSS (apart from setting elements relative to a baseline). If you can be sure that the element will always fit on one line, then setting the line-height to the overall height of the container will vertically center the text. If it may be multiline, but never exceed the bounds of a known-sized box, you can set a padding-top value for the container and use negative margin-top values to place the picture and the overlay -- it won't necessarily be centred, but will live in a bounding-box that is centred.
“Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it.” --Donald Knuth
"It was as if its architects were given a perfectly good hammer and gleefully replied, 'neat! With this hammer, we can build a tool that can pound in nails.'" -- Alex Papadimoulis (on TheDailyWTF.com)