Moon-rock dealers have a strange affinity for Denny's

Lowering the Bar has a two-part series on a pair of US fed moon-rock busts; one involving a Honduran colonel, both involving Denny's restaurants, and both involving a moon rock. It's the fast-food/extraterrestrial contraband caper coincidence of the century!

In 1994, a man who was in Honduras on business "learned from a friend that a retired colonel from the Honduran military was seeking to sell a moon rock," which he said he had received "as a gift after a coup d'etat sometime around 1973." Despite the fact that this gift presumably had great sentimental value, the colonel was "quite anxious to sell it." Since there's nothing remotely suspicious about this kind of offer, and after he learned that a few specks of lunar dust had recently sold at auction for $500,000, the man returned to Honduras the next year and arranged to buy the item.

So far, this is just your run-of-the-mill buy-a-moon-rock-from-a-retired-Honduran-military-officer transaction, but here it gets a little weird. The seller arranged to have someone bring the moon rock (and the plaque on which it was mounted) to Miami for the exchange. As the reader pointed out to me, "the meeting took place at a Denny's restaurant near the airport." (Emphasis added.)

Feds Seize Alleged Moon Rock in California

Denny's Lunar Connection?

(Image: Fake Moon Rock, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from lumachrome's photostream; Old Denny's sign, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from cmartin82's photostream)


  1. Back when I was in extreme politics, Denny’s is exactly the sort of place that we would have held a secret meeting. Wearing disguises, no less!

    1. What is extreme politics? Do you vote using a half-pipe, or maybe repel from a helicopter? ;o)

      Also – they are obviously there for the space themed Moon Over My Hammy.

    1. So you were in the Weather Aboveground?

      Were the other splinters always counting on you guys to, pool your resources?

      Yeah, there’s probably a better one but that’s all I got on a Friday afternoon.

      1. Splinters are noted for being sharp and trying to get under your skin. Pooling resources would be as likely as the Rome Pope and the Avignon Pope getting together for drinks.

  2. re: “But the U.S. did give away moon-rock fragments (on plaques) to all U.S. states and most foreign countries in the 1970s…”

    IIRC, a Missouri senator who recently retired found his moon rock on a plaque in a stack of papers in his office.

  3. Denny’s is NOT fast food! Formulatic, institutional food, yes… fast? Um, no. McDonalds? Yup – fast. Denny’s? More than once I’ve had to wait over 30 min for my order… (oh, well – at lest they are open at 3am on a holiday… everyplace else I’d be waiting ~28 hours for my order! lol)

  4. “Here on the moon, our weekends are so advanced, they encompass the entire week.” – Ignignokt

  5. Reading this after the Isaac Asimov letter above, I can only think of his short story “The Singing Bell.” Moon rocks and crime…too bad that story doesn’t have a Denny’s involved.

  6. Reminds me of the Rocky & Bullwinkle Upsadasium story arc. Complete with the little space guys walking around a Denny’s.

  7. Their is a diner in New York I used to frequent called the Moon rock diner that has a rock in a glass case but I don’t think its an actual moon rock. Good French Onion Soup if I remember correctly.

  8. so…I’m not allowed to sell my legitimately acquired moon rock?
    what the hell? its mine dammit! and it has no real value to society, it can’t be used for industrial or medicinal purposes…it isn’t even pretty. It’s just a mildly irradiated lump of aluminum, iron and other random junk.

    Just kidding.

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