Now is the traditional time of year beloved by national newspaper share tipsters when they compete over which one of them can lose more of their readers' cash, by recommending various top investment "tips" and reviewing their performance over the past 12 months.
So I'm delighted to announce that last year's first prize in the "quality" daily category goes to the Times, as its Tempus Ten selection managed to perform even worse than both its competitors and the slumping market, shedding 37.8%.
Meanwhile, those genuises at the Independent made a gallant effort to burden their followers with even more eye-watering losses than their own newspaper's holding company, by recommending a basket of shares that fell 37% (while this year's selection tempts, "Let's be daring this year: after all, how much worse can it get?").
And coming in last position in this section, with a drop of only 25.7%, is the Daily Telegraph's Questor column - that still published news of its losses under the self-congratulatory headline: "Questor share picks beat the FTSE 100".
Quite why these rags feel the need to continue this humiliation is not clear. Apart from the obvious (to most) challenges of trying to deliver absolute returns with a long-only portfolio of a handful of shares which must be held over a 12 month period, there is a more simple flaw to these pisspoor columns: that is, the writers are hacks, not investment experts, who haven't got the slightest clue what they are talking about.
All of which leads us to my first tip of the year: short these columns' 2009 selections immediately (if you haven't done so already).