A Big Wheel Plays Santa

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg brightened spirits in Brooklyn yesterday, donating his "strike bike" to a needy teenager.

Bloomberg, who rides the No. 6 subway to City Hall each morning, purchased the mountain bike earlier this month when a potential transit strike threatened to shut down the city's bus and subway systems.

When the two sides reached a deal, the mayor decided to give his bike to 16-year-old Michael Pruitt, who lives with his mother in the Canarsie neighborhood.

The Feud That Wasn't

Pro wrestler Jerry "The King" Lawler has finally come clean: His infamous feud with comedian Andy Kaufman was a hoax.

The bizarre incident occurred in 1982 during a segment on the David Letterman show in which Lawler slapped Kaufman's face on live television. Kaufman retaliated by throwing coffee on the professional wrestler.

In his new book, "It's Good to Be the King . . . Sometimes," Lawler confesses to planning the incident with Kaufman.

According to Lawler's account, neither Letterman nor his producer knew anything about the stunt beforehand. The details behind the incident have been a secret for 20 years. Kaufman died in 1984.

An 'Unbwogable' Combination

Kenyan presidential hopeful Mwai Kibaki will head into tomorrow's election boosted by his wildly popular campaign anthem.

The hit song, "Who Can Bwogo Me?," echoes the message of Kibaki's National Rainbow Coalition, bridging tribal differences while voicing resistance to corruption and oppression.

The rap song is about someone "who doesn't want to be oppressed, to be kept down, to be harassed," said Julius Owino of Gidi Gidi Maji Maji, the group that wrote and recorded the tune.

Translated to English, the song's title asks, "Who Can Scare Me?" But to a wide array of fans, the song is referred to simply as "Unbwogable," meaning "unbeatable."

That may be the case for Kibaki, who leads in the polls and hopes to oust the Kenya African National Union party after 39 years in power. In a recent poll, Kibaki held a 47-point lead over Uhuru Kenyatta, the 42-year-old candidate selected by retiring President Daniel arap Moi.

Even supporters of Kenyatta claim to like the song.

Noted . . .

Law enforcement officials in Moscow will investigate whether the Harry Potter series of children's books incite religious hatred, an official said yesterday. The investigation was opened at the request of a Moscow woman who was upset by the novels, said Svetlana Petrenko, a spokeswoman for the Moscow city prosecutor's office. Similar complaints have been raised in the United States by parents who think the Potter books promote the occult . . . Former publisher and philanthropist Herbert Axelrod has offered to lower the $25 million price tag on his rare collection of Italian stringed instruments. The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra has been raising money since April to purchase the instruments, which it has on loan. Axelrod has offered to reduce the price by two dollars for every dollar the symphony raises . . Basketball superstar Shaquille O'Neal will marry Shaunie Nelson at a secret site in Los Angeles today, according to yesterday's Los Angeles Times. Nelson is O'Neal's girlfriend of three years and the mother of two of his children. The couple is expecting a third child in May.

. . . And Quoted

"You decide as an artist that you're not something that can be devoured. You're not the flavor of the month." -- singer Tori Amos, 39, on surviving the fickleness of the music industry.

-- Compiled by Chris Richards

from staff and wire reports

Lloyd Grove is away. The Reliable Source will return.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, right, helps Michael Pruitt with the holiday gift.