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Octogenarian priest takes birthday ride on Bootleg Canyon zipline


You remember “The Flying Nun.” Meet the flying priest.

While many octogenarians would have been content with a cake and candles, or perhaps a long nap, the Rev. Joseph Annese recently enjoyed a different sort of birthday present: The Catholic priest schlepped up to the top of Bootleg Canyon outside Boulder City and took a wild ride on the FlightLinez zipline express. The 8,000-foot zipline experience is touted as transporting riders at speeds of up to 60 mph.

Annese knows the area well. He spent three decades helping to build St. Andrew Catholic Community in Boulder City before entering semi-retirement in 2008. Truth told, he’s actually a veteran zipliner, having zoomed through a Central American jungle on a previous adventure.

The priest was joined by longtime friends Kay and Pam Littleton. Kay and Pam are sisters. Not Sister sisters, but the biological kind.

“Going with a priest didn’t hurt, let’s put it that way,” Kay says, smiling. “It was like insurance.”

Although the bus ride on a narrow and winding dirt road might have had him wondering whether his life insurance had been updated, afterward Father Joe appeared pleased and a bit relieved.

He was reminded of a line from Edward Albee’s “The Zoo Story” in which the playwright observed, “Sometimes it’s necessary to go a long distance out of the way in order to come back a short distance correctly.”

It’s something to remember whether you’re flying through the air or have your feet on the ground.

MONEY MAN: Republican mega-donor casino man Sheldon Adelson, who just finished making headlines for playing host to the Republican Jewish Coalition’s presidential “primary” at The Venetian, has something else to smile about this week.

His personal wealth increased by $2.1 billion this week, according to Forbes, following a 6 percent rise in Las Vegas Sands’ stock price.

That jump, says Forbes’ Dan Alexander, places Adelson’s personal wealth at approximately $40 billion, which makes him the eighth-richest man in the world.

LOWDEN CLEAR: Republican Lt. Gov. candidate Sue Lowden didn’t shy away from a chance to spar with political talk host Jon Ralston on his “Ralston Reports” show this week. Not only did her primary challenger Mark Hutchison decide against going on the program, he also declined to return my phone calls this week.

No matter. Lowden and Hutchison may yet be returning to the debate arena. Word is Lowden’s campaign manager Tom Letizia has already contacted KLAS TV, Channel 8, and Sam Shad’s “Nevada Newsmakers” show, which airs locally on KVBC-TV, Channel 3, for possible showdown dates.

SCI-FI STARTER: If politics isn’t scary enough for you, then perhaps you’re one of the people who might be willing to invest in Rory Johnston’s fledgling faux documentary film, “Area 52 — The Actual Footage.”

Las Vegas writer/director Johnston is seeking crowdfunding through the Kickstarter website for his sci-fi/horror movie.

Who knows, maybe he will really frighten folks and use slips from the next Lowden-Hutchison debate.

ON THE BOULEVARD: Amid rumors casino king Adelson is facing increased health concerns, Las Vegas Sands President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Leven appears to be taking a higher profile. He is a featured speaker at the Nevada Republican Party Convention keynote breakfast April 11 at the South Point. … Longtime Lionel Sawyer &Collins attorney Paul Larsen is now in private practice. … Longtime Mount Charleston ski instructor Marcel Barel, an institution on the Southern Nevada slopes for nearly half a century, was honored Tuesday in a ceremony at the Clark County Commission.

Have an item for the Bard of the Boulevard? Email comments and contributions to Smith@reviewjournal.com or call 702-383-0295. Follow him on Twitter @jlnevadasmith.