Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Out of the Box 59: Material Relationships

We have a colorful language that includes idioms and phrases that make sense only in a narrow context.  While these aren't quite oxymorons; there is a strange sounding relationship between the object and its material modifier.  Consider the clue and then unscramble the anagram.  Have fun.

Clue                             Anagram                                 Answer
Skeet                           EGO PLIANCY:                    Clay Pigeon
Kaw-Liga                    ADD ONION WINE:           
Heavy on the gas        TEA OF OLD:                                   
SCUBA ancestor        LONG I RUN:                       
Error free fielder         OLD GG LOVE:                   
Picnic ware                 A RANCH PIPE:                  
More picnic ware        STRAW LEVIS REPLICA: 
Drink enabler              PIG'S CLASS SLATE:          
Wood smoother           DRAPE SPAN:                     
Political boundary      AN IRONIC RUT:     

Follow this link for answers...

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

You might be a grunt if...

I have published this in many places, but thought now would be a good time to put it forth once more.


A few years ago, Jeff Foxworthy had some fun with a cultural background he simply classified as redneck.  Having spent 20 years in the Marine Infantry, I offer a similar perspective on that calling simply know as grunt.

You might be a grunt if…

You can't make sense of any of the abbreviations used by the New York Stock Exchange, but know by heart the trading value of every component of a C-Ration or MRE.

When buying a new house, your first examine fields of fire and dead space in the front yard.

Within two hours of moving into a new home, you post a fire plan sketch in the kitchen, master bedroom, and forward one to the commanding officer of your new duty station.

During a chance encounter with homeless people, you find yourself leading the discussion on the insulation value of cardboard.

You still carry a John Wayne (P-38) around your neck.

Packing for a trip always involves toilet paper, even when traveling by air.

You mentally map out avenues of approach when viewing a painting of a landscape.

Your doodling consists of big blue arrows, primary and alternate positions, and barrier plans.

In the course of making peanut butter sandwiches for the kids, you find yourself giving a lecture on how to mark a landing zone by lighting C-Ration peanut butter.

Your Y2K contingency plan was a case of MREs and some heat tabs.

You have told your kids to muster in the den in 10 minutes for a frag order and they know what you're talking about.

You have an E-tool in the garage.

When you catch the neighborhood kids digging in your yard, you take your turn and transition into a class on aiming stakes and grenade sumps.

The neighborhood kids have all gone home and your are left to dig the supplemental positions by yourself.

Your write off 18 holes of golf as terrain appreciation.

When looking for a street address, you assign your family sectors of observation.

Punishment for your kids involves words like restriction, forfeiture of pay, and EPD instead of grounded and no allowance.

You have busted your kids back to Private at least once.

When escorting your child's class on a field trip, you have everyone side step through the chow line.

You have deadlined your wife's car for going beyond the recommended oil change mileage.

You describe a West Texas Dust Storm as good obscuration.

When passing a large open area, you automatically look overhead for power lines that could obstruct its use as a landing zone.

Your kids all have liberty cards, and they have been pulled many times.

You have recommended that proficiency and conduct marks replace the standard grading system in public schools.

You keep your important papers in an old ammo can.

When walking by discarded boxes, you can immediately spot those that would work as a field expedient head.

You can make a sentence out of nothing but acronyms.

You can conjugate every acronym that you use.

Your daughter knows that ear rings are not an authorized component of an acceptable date.

Every family member on your table of organization conducts a monthly inventory of their table of equipment.

Your kids know how to fill out a missing gear statement.

You consider the X-Files to be mundane compared to the stories you have heard at non-judicial punishment.

You have referred to your wife as the XO or the Gunny.

The neighborhood kids ask you for a class on camouflage and concealment before they play hide and seek.

Your son borrows your camouflage utilities before playing hide and seek with the neighborhood kids, and knows to take the fluff dried ones to better break up his outline.

When you explain what you did in the Corps, you just say grunt and expect everyone to know what you're talking about.  Why wouldn't they?

Monday, August 13, 2018

Book signing at the CPCH is this Friday!

Author Tom Spence to sign books at the Cumberland Presbyterian Children's Home

Retired Marine Corps officer, pastor, and western Oklahoma’s most prolific author Tom Spence will be at the Cumberland Presbyterian Children's Home on Friday, 17 August 2018 for a book signing from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. in the campus library.
Tom will have several of his titles, but the featured book will be Throw Away Kids:  Are we concerned enough to get involved?

Tom will also feature a good down home baseball story for the children—Tough Day at the Plate

Tom’s books will be available for a donation to the Cumberland Presbyterian Children’s Home. 

For those already interested, his books may be viewed at this author page

Tom, Just who are you to talk about some else's children?

That's a fair question.

I don't like people or organizations or the government messing around with the inner workings of my family.
We should be able to protect the domain that we call home and family.
I don't like meddling in other people's business.
So just who am I to talk about someone else's kids.

I am the guy who sees the kids in dirty clothes.
They are the same clothes the kid wore for the past two days.
They smell like cigarette smoke.

I am the guy who sees the kid with holes in his shoes and jeans.
These are not designer holes for which you pay $40 extra.
These are the holes that say, this is all I have.

I am the guy who sees hungry kids every week.
They eat the church meal as if they haven't eaten all week.
That is sometimes the truth.

I am the guy who sees the car almost come to a stop in the church parking lot.
It won't come into the drive-through awning.
Someone might meet the car and talk to the driver.
They won't make that mistake again.

The kids get out and run to the church.
They know we will love them here.
They run towards that love.
The car speeds away.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Answers to Out of the Box 1

Out of the Box 1:  Only the Beginning
The Answers

WAIT!  If you just happened upon this post, first follow this link to the brain teaser.

10        A in the B of R
            Amendments in the Bill of Rights

2          M for SS
            Mules for Sister Sarah

2          RD in a YW
            Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood

12        AM
            Angry Men

52        W in a Y
            Weeks in a Year

300      P in a PG
            Pins in a Perfect Game

366      D in a LY
            Days in a Leap Year

2          DD in DJ
            Daily Doubles in Double Jeopardy

4          S in a Y
            Seasons in a Year

2          S of R in a B of KRB
            Scoops of Raisins in a Box of Kellogg's Raisin Bran

Author Tom Spence to sign books at the Cumberland Presbyterian Children's Home

Retired Marine Corps officer, pastor, and western Oklahoma’s most prolific author Tom Spence will be at the Cumberland Presbyterian Childrens Home  on Friday, 17 August 2018 for a book signing from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. in the campus library. Tom will have several of his titles, but the featured book will be Throw Away Kids:  Are we concerned enough to get involved?

Tom will also feature a good down home baseball story for the children—Tough Day at the Plate

Tom’s books will be available for a donation to the Cumberland Presbyterian Children’s Home.

For those already interested, his books may be viewed at this author page at

Tom Spence
Curriculum vitae

Tom Spence is a retired United States Marine Corps officer.  He served in command and staff positions in all 4 Marine Divisions, at Marine Corps Schools in Quantico Virginia as both student and instructor, as a series commander at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, and as a program manager for Marine Corps training systems and simulators around the world.   Tom also served one tour training Marine Reservists in Des Moines, Iowa.

His service took him to Marine Bases on the East Coast, West Coast, Japan, the Philippines, and Korea.  He has served in Iraq and Kuwait, and has nearly a year serving aboard U.S. Naval vessels in areas north of the Arctic Circle, in Europe, the Mediterranean, North Africa, Central America, and the Pacific, as well as a year serving in the United Nations.

Tom is a graduate of Mangum High School and Oklahoma State University.  He continued his education while in the Marine Corps and during retirement with American College, Minneapolis, Minnesota; American University, Covina California; Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa; and Memphis Theological Seminary.

In 2008 he was called to ministry and was ordained in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in 2010.  He continues to serve as pastor of the Burns Flat Cumberland Presbyterian Church.  He recently returned from his second trip to Africa to train pastors and church leaders in Kenya and Uganda.

Tom has served as an officer and chair on the Board of the Western Oklahoma Family Care Center.

Tom has published over 20 books including Throw Away Kids—a call for Christian parents to lead those who have abandon the role of parent back to this sacred calling; and PoMo Poverty—a look at modern poverty in America and what we can do about it right now without creating an entitlement mentality.

Tom’s favorite book is Acceptance of Authority.  This is for the person that had to spend an hour in detention, has received multiple speeding tickets, or has landed in prison for the next 20 years.  Tom guides the reader through what so many have lost sight of with respect to the value of authority in modern society.

Tom is married to the former Sharman Oliveri of Beaufort, South Carolina.  Tom and Sharman have two children and three grandchildren.


What is the author working on now?

His current project is the publication of the Burns Flat Cumberland Presbyterian Church history up to 2018.  He would like to have this print edition ready for the Red River Presbytery meeting hosted by the Burns Flat CPC this October.

So how is the Reverend Doctor Thomas Ray Spence, Major, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret) to be addressed?

The only form acceptable to this man is Pastor Tom.

How many of each type of animal did Moses put on the ark?
Did you fall for it?  Noah, not Moses loaded the ark.  See you on the 17th.

Who Are You? Who am I?

These will be easy for the frequent reader of the Gospels of Matthew and John.  Once you get the first one, the others will go much more quickly.  The goal is to complete the capitalized letters with the appropriate words to make the familiar phrase or quote.

Here is a sample of the idiom to be addressed.

B A the M:    Blessed are the Meek

B A the P in S
B A  the P

Y A the S of the E
Y A the L of the W

I A the B of L
I A the L of the W
I A the D
I A the G S
I A the R and the L
I A the W, the T, and the L
I A the T V
I A from A

Answers to Who Are You? Who am I?

Here are the answers to Who Are You?   Who am I?

If you happened upon this post by accident, follow this link to the brain teaser before reading further.

B A the P in S                                     Blessed are the Pure in Spirit
B A T W M                                         Blessed are Those Who Mourn
B A the P                                             Blessed are the Peacemakers

Y A the S of the E:                            You are the salt of the earth.
Y A the L of the W                            You are the light of the world.

I A the B of L                                    I am the bread of life.
I A the L of the W                             I am the light of the world.
I A the D                                            I am the door [gate].
I A the G S                                        I am the Good Shephard.
I A the R and the L                            I am the resurrection and the life.
I A the W, the T, and the L                I am the way, the truth, and the life.
I A the T V                                         I am the true vine.

I A from A                                          I am from above.