On CNN recently, this exchange:
Ari Velshi: You're more like an average guy.
Tim Pawlenty: I welcome that. I'm not, you know, going to light my hair on fire and shoot sparks out my ears, or whatever.
The OED explains that this use of out, meaning "From within, away from", in contexts where the current standard language uses out of, is "Formerly poet. Now regional and nonstandard". There are citations back to 1300:
c1300 Childhood Jesus (Laud) 1625 in C. Horstmann Altengl. Legenden (1875) 1st Ser. 54 Þare cam An Naddre out þe gras.
a1375 William of Palerne (King's Cambr.) (1867) 4219 We‥neuer-more for no man mowe be deliuered, ne pult out prison.
c1430 (1386) Chaucer Legend Good Women Prol. 197 Whan that the sunne out the south gan weste.
1545 T. Raynald tr. E. Roesslin Byrth of Mankynde 100 It wyll not conueniently yssue oute that narowe place.
However, the OED's two most recent citations strike me as not poetic or regional or nonstandard at all, because they involve the phrase "out the door":
1982 A. Maupin Further Tales of City 59 The houseman wolfed down a deviled egg and scurried out the door.
1992 Globe & Mail (Toronto) 6 Aug. (Educ. Suppl.) 2/2 When you become useless, you're out the door.
And the one before that also strikes me as standard, being an instance of the pattern "look out the <opening>":
1972 D. E. Westlake Cops & Robbers (1973) iii. 46 He looked out the windshield.
There's a danger, in cases like this, that when I say "standard" I mean "OK to use in formal speech or writing, according to my personal taste". So I checked a couple of well-edited sources, and found these recent examples in the NYT:
He urged his audience to evacuate and he led a procession out the door, signing autographs and posing for pictures along the way.
On his way out the door, he paused to grab a beer from the beverage cart.
Mr. Olczak's had offered to take Ray to the court house to see about his fine and had been trying to hurry him out the door.
He looked out the window and saw a white van.
I spent most of third and fourth grade staring out the window, longing to get to the construction site.
As the flight to Birmingham began its descent, the passenger in 8B, a barrel of a man wearing a camouflage baseball cap, peered out the window at the disfigured sprawl of Tuscaloosa below.
Specifically, in the past 90 days there have been 51 results for "out the door", and a quick check suggest that in every case, out is a transitive preposition with door as its object. The same time period shows just two instances of "out of the door". At least one of these has a slightly different meaning, involving a partial rather than complete transition across the boundary:
Mr. Owusu testified that as he turned the taxi onto Flatbush Avenue, the woman asked if he had a plastic bag she could vomit in. He did not, so he pulled over so she could stick her head out of the door to vomit, he said.
In comparison, there are 22 instances over the past 90 days of "out of the house", all of which are ordinary prepositional uses:
Ms. Shriver had moved out of the house and into a Beverly Hills hotel earlier this year.
Nearby residents noticed that few people ever ventured out of the house …
When Henry's intolerance drives Gabriel out of the house, he isn't heard from for years.
His sister, who lives with him, said she would not be able to roll him out of the house if there were a fire.
There are three instances of "out the house", in all of which out is a "particle" (i.e. an intransitive preposition) associated with the "phrasal verbs" clear out and rent out:
Her mission: clear out the house, call in an antiques dealer to look at some of the books, and arrange for charitable donations.
Last year, while Mr. Denkin prepared for his move back East, he rented out the house, during which time somebody was impressed enough with it to make a $700,000 offer.
Keep in mind that you can rent in a new area — and perhaps rent out the house you now own — before you commit, Mr. Sperling said.
So this is not just my personal quirk. But what *is* "this"?
It's not just lexical. You can walk — or run, crawl, scurry, roll, etc. — out the gate, out the back, out the exit, etc. You can look — or stare, peer, gaze, squint, etc. — out the window, out the porthole, out the viewport, out the sunroof, etc.
But you can't (standardly) walk out the house, or out the plaza, or out the village, or whatever — all of those need "of". Nor can you (standardly) peer out the box, or stare out the car, or shoot out the bushes — though you can perfectly well shoot at someone out of the bushes, etc.
Apparently out as a transitive preposition has something to do with transiting from within an enclosed space through a limited aperture of some kind.
This would make "shoot sparks out my ears" work fine, if you thought of yourself as a potentially spark-shooting being positioned within your skull. But in fact, I think Mr. Pawlenty's phrase is more likely an instance of the non-standard modern inheritor of the old-fashioned general preposition out.
Update — As usual, MWDEU is helpful: "When used as a preposition, it seems most often to go with door or window … With nouns that designate places or things that can be thought of as containing or surrounding, out of is usual … Out has been used this way, but it sounds not quite part of the mainstream …"