n. \ ˌbrē-kō-ˈläzh , ˌbri-\

: construction — as of a sculpture or a structure of ideas — achieved by using whatever comes to hand; that process of making do.

Derived from the French verb bricoler (meaning "to putter about") and related to bricoleur, the French name for a jack-of-all-trades — someone who solves technical problems with what’s available.

A bricoleur's handiwork — how to opportunistically make build things that people want.

'Lepanto' — by John Everett, c. 1918

Razzle Dazzle

John Everett specialized in the interpretation of the military’s use of ‘dazzle’ – a colorful camouflaging technique used to disguise ships at sea. The Dazzle Camouflage was not intended to hide the presence of the ships themselves, but instead was created to hide the ships size, shape, direction, and speed from would-be attackers.

A Dazzle of Zebras

Zebras are “high-tech horses” — their coat of stripes a literal “no-fly-zone” that creates motion-induced distortions in the visual field of a fly’s complex eyes. So flies bounce off a zebra’s hide whenever they try to land — hence a “dazzle of zebras.”

Horses ain't zebras — nothing dazzles.

One bit missing.

Origin of Two Bits

An Americanism dating back to 1720-30

noun. "quarter," 1730, in reference to the Mexican real, a large coin that was divided into eight bits; see bit (n.1). Two bits would have equaled a quarter of the coin. Hence two-bit (adj.) "cheap, tawdry," first recorded 1929. Cf. piece of eight ; see piece (n.)).

Two-bits, four-bits, six-bits and eight-bits make reference to the eight-reales silver coin of New Spain and Mexico — legal tender in the United States until 1857 and was the world’s most used coin at one time. It is also called piece of eight, which, when supplies of smaller denomination coins dwindled were chopped or cut into smaller pieces to make change.

Thus, one eighth of eight-reales became one bit, one quarter two-bits — the equivalent of our present day quarter-dollar. One-half is four-bits and three quarters are six-bits. The United States considered a monetary system based on the piece of eight, which was renamed “dollar” in the 1780’s.