for some reason, WordPress has decided to lose all comments on this blog.
It happened after my web host restarted the database server because of one of those occasional “error establishing a database connnection” errors that WordPress blogs seem to randomly spew out.
Thanks to Calcutta Seo: Search Engine Optimization for the answer. The answer lay in cpanel: My SQL option and “repair database”.
And thanks to Rich Pedley for recommending the DBC Backup plugin, which allows me to schedule a once-a-day backup to be emailed to me.