So I switched to the blogger "layout" scheme (and away from the archaic "classic template" manually edited css-based quagmire.) I'm not sure of all the ramifications yet. I will restore links and other sidebar elements as quickly as possible.
The main reason I switched is I was using the same template I started with in 2002! Except that it has been unmercifully hacked into an inpenetrable, unmaintainable morass.
The old haloscan comments seem to be there--while (this post will be the test) the new comments should be from blogger.
UPDATE: ok by some magic the comments, even on the new post, are still haloscan. So be it.