Somewhere in the recent past - possibly while installing firestarter (but I'm not sure) - there was a puff of blue smoke logic and my localhost interface disappeared.
This manifested itself oddly. OpenOffice would hang for a long, long time on startup as if it was eventually timing out trying to connect to something.
I also noticed that CUPS printing had died. So, the standard nightmare unfolded. Were the two observable phenomena related or indepdent. Was there a causal connection between the Firestarter install any either/both of the two phenomena?
Short on time to make the correct, rigorous analysis of the problem, I did what you should never do. I changed two things at once :-)
Firstly, I added a firewall rule to allow CUPS traffic through. (Was that what was causing OpenOffice to palpitate on startup?). Secondly, I re-created localhost with ifconfig lo0 127.0.0.1.
Everything is working fine now except that I have to re-create lo0 whenever I reboot.
My guess is that OO was trying to connect to the printer and took a dim view of localhost not being there. Whether or not I actually need the firewall rule change as well or not, I don't know at this point.
I'm loath to just lob it into a boot script for fear of heaping bletcherous hack on top of ill-understood problem fix.
I have printed the Linux System Administrators Guide. I have boiled the kettle. I will figure this out.