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problems getting static ip to work

Title: Message
 Let me preface my question by saying I am a novice on Linux
  I have a laptop running Debian, whose network interface is a  pcmcia card.
I use it as an IMAP mail server. Recently, I tried giving it a static IP address.
by changing /etc/pcmcia/network.opts and filling in the appropriate fields
 (I actually used pcnetconfig, so it generated the file for me)
My /etc/network/interfaces looks like this
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback
 iface eth0 inet static
ifconfig -a
does seem to give me information that eth0 is configured (I can even it ping it from another machine on the network)
I am noticing 2 problems.
On boot up I get a "neighbor table overflow" message. I was told this has something to do with the loopback not being configured, but I thought my interfaces file should take care of this.
More importantly, my IMAP daemon does not seem to be retrieving any mail from my Pop server.
I tried doing a
% telnet imap2
and it hangs......
I think I'm going in circles here and I'd appreciate it if someone can explain to me what the problem is and how I might fix it?
Thanks much

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