IF THE U.S. economy is going to turn around, we're going to have to start exporting something better than Snooki.
The "Jersey Shore" gang is shooting its upcoming season of drunken debauchery in Florence, Italy, and it was there that Nicole Polizzi had a run-in with the polizia.
According to TMZ.com, Snooki was taken into custody in Florence yesterday when she crashed her car into a police car.
Sources connected with "Jersey Shore" were quick to tell TMZ, "Zero alcohol was involved."
Really? So either Snooki can't drive sober or Zero alcohol is the name of some fancy Italian liqueur.
No one in the Snookmobile was injured, but two police officers in the car Snooki hit were taken to the hospital by ambulance to be treated for whiplash, People magazine reported.
And the car Snooki plowed into wasn't just any police car. It was the car assigned to escort the cast of "Jersey Shore" while they were out and about.
According to London's Daily Mail, the rush-hour fender bender brought traffic in Florence to a halt due to . . . how do you say rubbernecking in Italian?
Snooki's accident once again makes her one of the guys. During their brief stay in Italy, her male castmates have already been ticketed with more than 300 euros' worth of traffic tickets.
At a news conference, the guys even said how difficult it was to drive in Florence.
Uh, so don't drive.
* In a more disturbing accident, hip-hop singer Sean Kingston and a female companion were injured Sunday when he jet-ski'd into the Palm Island Bridge off Miami.
Authorities are investigating the crash, and "nothing at this point would indicate that alcohol played a role," said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Jorge Pino.
It's quite likely that Kingston's life was saved by Jonathan Rivera, a member of the Coast Guard, who was out on his boat on his day off.
According to TMZ.com, Rivera was called over to the accident scene by a man and woman who were struggling to keep Kingston's head above water.
Rivera jumped in and noticed that Kingston, whose life vest had come off, was "puking up blood out of his mouth."
He was "convulsing and throwing up blood all over me," Rivera said, but he added that he didn't notice any head trauma.
Rivera said he held on to Kingston for about 15 minutes, until a police boat finally arrived.
Kingston was able to follow directions at that point, though he did need help getting into the boat. Police then rushed him to a waiting ambulance.
He's since been stabilized and moved to an intensive-care unit at a local hospital.
Tattbits* Tupac. Still dead.
Regardless of what you may have read on the "PBS News Hour" Web site - PBS being the place Tattle always goes to get breaking rap news - a post yesterday claiming Tupac Shakur was alive and living in New Zealand, was the work of hackers - not the hip-hop gods.
The hackers were reportedly upset about a recent "Frontline" episode about WikiLeaks.
* Fresh from an appearance at the Oprah Farewell Concert, eleven-year-old soprano prodigy Jackie Evancho (all you really need to know about the credibility of these TV talent shows is that she didn't win "America's Got Talent") was on QVC promoting her new CD, "Dream with Me," when the host mentioned the new disc featured duets with Barbra Streisand and Susan Boyle and asked Jackie with whom she'd like to sing.
We expected her to say Sarah Brightman, Charlotte Church, maybe Placido Domingo, or even Justin Bieber. She is eleven, after all, and except when she's singing, she really is eleven.
Her answer: Lady Gaga.
She's not really my style of music, Jackie said, but I think she's a good singer.
Score one for the kid. You can prep them and package them but they're still kids and you just never know.
Besides, as long as Gaga left her potty mouth and androgynous dance team at home and was content to hammer away at the piano with a ballad, that might be a duet for next year's Grammys.
* "Brady Bunch" Peter, Christopher Knight, has split with his Playboy model wife, Adrianne Curry.
Their manager Phil Viardo told Hollyscoop.com via statement, "Actor Christopher Knight and his wife, model and television star Adrianne Curry have announced . . . on their five-year wedding anniversary that they are separating. After starting a relationship with what seemed to be irreconcilable differences, the couple has reached a period where those differences are no longer appreciated."
* Now that Lindsay Lohan is under house arrest, People magazine wants you to know what is allowed and what isn't.
Lindsay may leave home only to see a doctor or her probation officer.
She may listen to House Music under house arrest.
Anyone may visit her. Even her parents.
While under house arrest, she can gab on the phone, use email and search the Internet as much as she wants.
She is not allowed to leave home without permission - no work, no community service - or her ankle bracelet, which she's forbiddent o tamper with, will notify authorities.
That's it for the rules. Seems more like a vacation than a punishment.
We think if someone is going to get the benefit of serving time under house arrest, someone else should get to pick the house.
Daily News wire services contributed to this report.