shallow - 9:43 pm on Apr 18, 2012 (gmt 0)
thank you everyone (!) for your helpful replies. I found this one especially pertinent:
"There's also a setting related to converting emoticons and using gravatars which can also slow down your pages. I like to disable everything and keep it basic and also set it to load only 10 comments at a time."
Yes, I'm using WordPress. Thanks for these insights and, again, thank you all!