Puff Daddy Update

And now for the latest in the Saga of Sean "Puffy" Combs: Police said yesterday that the 9mm pistol found in Combs's sport utility vehicle after Monday's New York nightclub shooting was reported stolen last summer from a pickup truck near Atlanta. The gun's owner, Cobb County, Ga., construction worker Ralph Cooper, told police he hadn't seen the Smith & Wesson for about a month before reporting it missing in August.

Also yesterday, the New York Daily News reported that Combs's girlfriend, singer-actress Jennifer Lopez, is blaming him for their arrest following the shooting at Club New York, which left three people wounded. (Combs--who is proclaiming his innocence--was charged with weapons possession and possession of stolen property, while the charges against Lopez were dropped.) According to the News, a crying Lopez lost it at the police station and snapped at Combs: "Look at the trouble you got me into." And apparently, she's still giving Combs the cold shoulder, not having seen or talked to him since their release.

If that isn't enough for poor Puff Daddy, the News adds that his old squeeze, model Kim Porter, is ready to take the rap mogul to court to get him to pay more child support for their 20-month-old son, Christian. Seems Combs is haggling over money, and Porter has just hired a divorce lawyer to press her case.

Cartoonists Honor Schulz in Strips

For its Jan. 1 issue, People magazine asked some of the country's top cartoonists to take up their pens and bid adieu to the retiring Charles Schulz (and Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the gang). "He deserves a life without deadlines," said "Cathy" creator Cathy Guisewite, who joined Jim Davis, Scott Adams and others in inking strips honoring the 77-year-old Schulz, who's suffering from colon cancer.

Time Capsule Contents

The nation's millennium time capsule--which won't be opened until 2100--will contain items like these: a Hostess Twinkie, Ray Charles's sunglasses, a chunk of the Berlin Wall, a cell phone, a World War II helmet and a student-made collage featuring pictures of Pokemon cartoon characters, Fidel Castro and a box of Lean Cuisine. President Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton, who hatched the idea of the capsule to symbolize America at the century's end, will officially unveil its contents at a ceremony tomorrow. A prototype will then go on display at the National Museum of American History, and the actual capsule--a 4-by-6-by-2-foot chest--will be built in the spring and then stored in the National Archives.

End Notes

WMAL-AM afternoon co-host Brooke Stevens was fired yesterday, according to The Post's Frank Ahrens. It was reported two weeks ago that her contract, which ends in February, would probably not be renewed. But yesterday WMAL management told her she didn't need to come to work today. Neither Stevens nor co-host Chris Core did the 4-to-8 show yesterday afternoon. Instead Wes Johnson, formerly of Shadow Broadcast Services, filled in . . . Chelsea Clinton took in the opening-night performance of "Martin Guerre" from the presidential box at the Kennedy Center Opera House . . . Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura--who raised hackles last fall when he deemed religion a crutch for the weak-minded--is now taking aim at the arts. According to the New York Daily News, the former wrestling star tells Playboy magazine, in an interview due out in March, that the National Endowment for the Arts should be disbanded. He says that if the government is going to subsidize artists, it might as well support stock car racers, too.

Lloyd Grove is away. The Reliable Source will resume when he returns.

CAPTION: Tributes to Charles Schulz by "Garfield's" Jim Davis and other fellow cartoonists appear in the Jan. 1 People.