Hell Week for the Car Haters. If you're into the whole car "thing," as virtually all of the readers of this publication are - then the third week of August is akin to our High Holy Days. Auto enthusiasts across the country are focused on two huge events this week: the Pebble Beach Concours and the Monterey Historic races on the West Coast, and the Woodward Dream Cruise in the northern suburbs of Detroit. Though polar opposites in style and tone, nonetheless these two automotive events (and countless others of lesser stature) define the car culture for auto enthusiasts across the country today. The events on the Monterey Peninsula (which Robert Louis Stephenson called "the most beautiful meeting of land and sea on earth") feature the best of the best, with pampered rolling sculptures taking over the 18th fairway at Pebble Beach on Sunday for the concours judging, while some of the most magnificent vintage racing cars in the world are unleashed at Laguna Seca (Mazda Raceway) over the weekend on the outskirts of town for the "Historics." Leading up to these keystone events are an endless succession of car shows, auctions, manufacturer-sponsored new car introductions, drives and just about anything else you can think of relating to the celebration of the automobile. And in suburban Detroit, the event that started out as a little local charity car celebration while also indirectly paying tribute to one of the most famous stretches of asphalt in the country - Woodward Avenue - has turned into the largest free-form car happening in the world. Estimates have suggested that 40,000 cars of every possible description show up the third Saturday in August, from Morgan three-wheelers to thinly-disguised racing cars, and anything and everything in-between - but no one really knows for sure. The only thing that is certain about the Woodward Dream Cruise is that it's the most irreverent, "run what you brung," wildly popular grass-roots automotive event on earth. People from all over the country and around the world start showing up in earnest the weekend before - and the entire week gives way to rumbling V-8s, stunning hot rods and more "Did you see that?" cars than you can even imagine. Unfortunately, the enthusiasm displayed for all things automobile at these seminal classic car events this week is not shared by a grumpy and noisy faction in this country - the anti-car intelligentsia zealots who populate such beacons of tolerance as the Sierra Club and others of its ilk. These are the people who can't quite figure out why anyone would idolize these horrific machines that "ruined" the nation with their evil waste gases and open platform of environmental destruction - at least that's how they view things from their perspective. They've become the equivalent of our societal No Fun League. If it were up to them, we would all be better off driving balsa wood clown cars put together with a hug and a smile - a land of Shiny, Happy People blissfully pedaling along, reveling being back in the Stone Age. For these car haters, this is Hell Week. Not content to merely heap derision on anyone who could possibly think of even celebrating the automobile's heinous contribution to society and the destruction of our American culture as they see it, the Sierra Club is now going after egregious affronts to their agenda wherever they may be. And their latest target? GM and McDonald's. The Sierra Club blasted both of these corporate entities last week for a promotion that gives out miniature Hummers with a purchase of a Happy Meal or a Mighty Kids Meal at participating McDonald's restaurants between August 4 and August 31, while supplies last. This "Hummer of a Summer" promotion has sent the Sierra Club into a tailspin, with a spokesman telling The New York Times that it was as responsible as "dipping a Big Mac in the fry oil and serving it to your kids." The spokesman went on to suggest that the promotion was encouraging kids to be environmentally irresponsible and that kids should be being taught the effects of global warming instead of being given miniature Hummers in their Happy Meals Gee, all that from a mini-Hummer toy promotion at McDonald's? To say the Sierra Club is misguided and humorless is an understatement. But their agenda is veering into a territory that goes beyond improving the planet, because now the Sierra Club fancies itself as being at the forefront of a burgeoning movement in this country that expands upon the anti-car rhetoric (that they seem to be able to spew at the drop of a pine cone) to include an "anti-conspicuous consumption" message. It's not only about what you drive and how you drive it; it's how you conduct your daily life, how you act in public and what you think too. No one has appointed the Sierra Club as Final Arbiters of our Existence that I know of, but given the opportunity, I have no doubt that they would jump at the assignment. Fortunately, car enthusiasts across the country are able to put the Sierra Club's misguided bleatings in perspective. Car enthusiasts are not anti-environment, anti-children, anti-trees or any other wild-ass scenario that the Sierra Club can conjure up. And even though the Sierra Club wants to shove their agenda down our throats every chance they get, car enthusiasts aren't interested in shoving fried Big Macs (or anything else) down anyone's throats. Car enthusiasts have one thing that the Sierra Club will never be accused of having - and that is perspective. They understand the role that the automobile has played in the growth of our nation and the personal impact that the automobile has had on all of our lives. And they also realize that many of life's most memorable moments were brought to them in one way or another by the cars and trucks that now frame the memories of a lifetime - the very cars and trucks evident on Woodward Avenue and the Monterey Peninsula this week, and at car shows around the country. So, do yourself a favor and go out and celebrate the High Holy Days of America's car culture this week any way you choose, before the card-carrying members of the No Fun League do their best to eradicate it from the American landscape. Because after all, the memories you're protecting just may be your own. Thanks for listening, see you next Wednesday.