Up: This is not a toon



Tie a bunch of helium balloons to a house until it lifts up and floats away. The idea was whimsical in the Pixar animated movie Up. But is it possible in real life?

A National Geographic team decided to find out. They hooked hundreds of colorful weather balloons to a brick house weighing a ton. They even included a grumpy old man. (Actually, he appears to be a perfectly nice youngish man.) The result?  Up, up and away. 

The project is part of a new television series How Hard Can It Be? debuting this fall on the National Geographic Channel.

Do those kooky NG guys have aspirations of animation or does this have practical applications? Could this be used to relocate houses? Imagine if the Simon Benson House had been floated through the Park Blocks in Portland to its current location? Or maybe Portlandia could occasionally levitate above City Hall with a new motto:  “She flies with her own . . .balloons.”