LJ was under a DDOS attack last week, which I suspected might be the reason for the slow performance this morning. That DDOS actually prompted the LJ code-writing people to rewrite the code to ignore such attacks in the future. They were also able to clean up some bottlenecks that were highlighted by the attack. I think this is why LJ is running so nicely now. It's like the DDOS was instructed to stop at noon EST today or something.
Which leads me to the following theory: I propose that it was a hard-core LJ user who initiated the DDOS. A paid user. This person would have done it with the intention of getting LJ to be reprogrammed in such a way that the slow service that even paid users were experiencing and complaning about before would be a thing of the past.
Just a thought.