Merlino & Gonzalez - August 2022

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August 2022




Every now and then, it’s fun to step outside of your comfort zone and experience something new! A longtime client and friend, Christopher Corulla, owner of Suitcase Film Productions, gave our office the opportunity to be part of a fun and interesting project, and I’m excited for him to share with you his current work in progress! With roughly 25 years of experience in the film industry, Christopher is a talented and dedicated producer, filmmaker, and actor, and he’s an absolute pleasure to work with.

I’ve known John R. Merlino Jr., Esq. for several years now, as he has helped me successfully navigate through some real estate transactions and deals and most recently assisting me with restructuring the ownership of my home — seamlessly, of course. Because John is my go-to for many legal areas, his name was at the top of my mind when it came to choosing cast members for Suitcase Film Productions’ newest film: “City on the Edge.” The movie features a joint investigation with NYPD and the FBI in pursuit of a drug dealer suspected of having a hand in the death of New York’s mayor. The only problem is that they can’t prove it — the guy seems squeaky clean on paper. So, together, the FBI and NYPD are watching his every move, just waiting for him to slip up, to attempt to gather enough evidence to bring him in. John actually plays a lawyer for the FBI, and although it’s a different line of work in the legal field than he’s used to in his actual profession, as a real estate attorney and professional, he did some research, showed up extremely prepared, and is absolutely killing it. He’s playing the role like it’s his actual job, and it’s so fun to see him come to life on screen. You’d never know that

he’s not an FBI attorney in real life. Stephanie, a paralegal at Merlino & Gonzalez, is also playing a fun role and is nailing it as well!

“City on the Edge” is set to debut in January, so be on the lookout for it! I’m extremely proud of the film and excited for its release — especially with John’s exciting role. For anyone in need of a real estate attorney, real estate transactional assistance or advice, or estate planning expertise, John and his partner, Ken, at Merlino & Gonzalez are my first and greatest recommendation. Anytime I have ever needed help, John has been there to lend a hand and share his knowledge. They do their job, and they do it well! They know exactly how to tackle any situation, both in real life or when just playing an attorney on film! -Christopher Corulla



Television and streaming platforms are attracting millions of viewers with their true story films and shows. Television shows like “Pam and Tommy,” “Inventing Anna,” and “Tiger King” have drawn in viewers with their captivating storylines and lookalike actors. Something about knowing the events you’re watching actually happened to real people is a mesmerizing feeling. True Crime No one really wants to admit it, but humans have a natural morbid curiosity. True crime’s sequence of events — the crime, victims, hunt, and capture (hopefully) — really carries the plot and grasps the viewer’s attention. As real life tragedies are more documented and accessible than ever before, true crime has become sort of a guideline for some. When you watch crime documentaries and shows, you may think to yourself about what not to do in certain scenarios. Though the person in the story was in an unfortunate situation, people can learn the signs of a dangerous scenario and know when to leave or not make the same mistakes. Based on a True Story … WHY TRUE STORIES BECAME A TV CRAZE

Real-Life Inspiration True stories interest people because they show viewers something that is not merely a filmmaker’s imagination. In most films and shows, it begins as a fictional thought, but with true stories, people may find a certain situation or character they can connect with in their own lives. People search for answers — if it is something they can relate to — and find comfort in the fact that other people may have faced similar challenges. You want to root for the underdog, as these seemingly normal characters develop into extraordinary people. The real people from these true stories inspire viewers with their bravery and grit. Television and streaming platforms are able to take true stories and pique their viewers’ curiosity by reflecting life itself. You might be able to pick up a thing or two when watching true stories. There are some harsh realities people may face, but there are definitely good ones too.


In today’s society, we are faced with tragic stories and upsetting information, no matter where we turn. This can quickly lead us to a negative mindset where we

Focus on the silver lining. When something bad or unfortunate happens, we are quick to think about the negatives and how they will impact us in the

should be grateful for. If you’re struggling to acknowledge your blessings, keep a gratitude journal and write a few things you are thankful for each day. Over time, that thought process will seep into your daily life. Surround yourself with positive people. The people we associate with play a huge role in our mental well-being. If you’re constantly around people who put you down or tell you that you can’t accomplish certain things, you will feel worse about yourself — or even believe them. You need to block the negative people from your life and surround yourself with those who think optimistically. Establishing a positive mindset in today’s world may be difficult, but it is not impossible if you develop a strategy and follow through with it.

believe things can’t be fixed and will only get worse, so it’s even more important now to establish a positive mindset. Though it might be easier to bury your head in the sand, fostering positivity in your life will provide you with many benefits.

future. Instead, we should be searching for a silver lining. You can find a positive in any situation, but you’ll have to put in the effort to flip your perspective.

Keep a gratitude journal. When we think about

gratitude and thankfulness, our minds usually think about Thanksgiving. But we don’t need to wait for a special day to show gratitude.

But doing so is easier said than done. If you’re unsure where to begin, try out some of these methods to help you get started.

Things happen to us every day that we


IS IT TIME TO UPDATE YOUR ESTATE PLAN? 3 Reasons to Modify an Existing Plan

While estate planning is not something that many really enjoy — nobody likes to think about death — most people do recognize the importance of it. However, there’s a common misconception. Many believe that once a comprehensive estate plan is prepared, it’s a one-and-done deal and they never again have to revisit it.

estate plan will also list trustees who are responsible for managing all funds and financial decisions. Any time a new child is born, this needs to be updated. Marriage and Divorce In many marriages, couples will leave everything to each other in the event that one passes away, especially in their first marriage, leaving the surviving spouse to provide for the children. When a divorce takes place, this needs to be updated accordingly within the existing estate plan. Change in Wealth In the event that an individual comes into a large sum of money, whether through inheritance, increased salary, or another financial blessing, the existing estate plan must be modified. Keep in mind that state laws differ and tax laws are always changing, which may impact your assets, so adjustments may need to be made. For all of your estate planning needs, we are here to help! From our offices in Staten Island, New York, and East Brunswick, New Jersey, we represent clients in both states in all aspects of estate planning and estate administration. Give us a call today!

That’s far from true. Everyone can benefit from periodic reviews of their plan with their trusted estate planning attorney. Both laws and personal circumstances are constantly changing, thus the estate plan sometimes needs to be updated along with it!

Here are some of the most common reasons that may warrant a modification of an existing estate plan.

A Growing Family Within an estate plan, the last will and testament designates both the legal guardian and successor guardian who would raise children under the age of 18 in the event that the parents pass away. The



Fresh tomatoes and basil abound in August, practically begging to become bruschetta! This recipe turns that appetizer into a main dish. TASTY BRUSCHETTA CHICKEN Inspired by


• 4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts, pounded to even thickness • 4 tbsp olive oil • 2 tbsp lemon juice, divided • 1/4 tsp pepper • 1 tsp Italian seasoning

• 3 tomatoes, chopped • 2 cloves garlic, minced • 1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped • Salt and pepper, to taste • 4 slices mozzarella cheese • Parmesan cheese, grated


1. Add chicken to a large resealable bag. 2. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Pour over chicken and seal. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. 3. Turn a grill to medium-high heat and add the chicken. Discard the marinade. Grill chicken 5–7 minutes per side or until fully cooked. 4. Combine the remaining lemon juice, tomatoes, garlic, and basil. Add salt and pepper, to taste. 5. Before taking the chicken off the grill, top each breast with a slice of mozzarella cheese. Cover and cook 2–3 minutes, then serve topped with the tomato mixture and grated Parmesan cheese.



394 Manor Road Staten Island, NY 10314



718-698-2200 |


Trying Something New Page 1

A Different and Deeper Way of Storytelling Dealing With Negativity? Try These 3 Things! Page 2

Reasons to Update Your Estate Plan Tasty Bruschetta Chicken Page 3

It All Happened Because of a Cartoon Page 4


It’s everywhere — misleading articles and video titles that grab your attention and entice you to click on them. Media outlets even exaggerate the truth to gain more views. This kind of journalism has garnered the labels clickbait and fake news . But how did these methods of journalism come to be? It all started in the 1890s with something called yellow journalism. What is yellow journalism? Yellow journalism and yellow press are terms for reporting poorly researched or illegitimate news stories. It’s all about exaggerating news events, scandal-mongering, or grabbing attention through sensationalized accounts of news events. It got the term “yellow” when New York World’s owner, Joseph Pulitzer, hired artist R.F. Outcault to create “Hogan’s Alley” (a comic strip) featuring The Yellow Kid. How did yellow journalism gain traction? Pulitzer originally wanted his newspaper to be more accessible to the working class and discuss crime and corrupt governments. His reporters would go undercover to investigate labor strikes, shady business deals, and

corruption and then write to influence change. Originally, The Yellow Kid had appeared in Truth magazine in 1894 and 1895, but Pulitzer ran the first color printing of the “Hogan’s Alley” cartoon in New York World in 1895, and it became a huge hit.

Then, William Randolph Hearst entered the picture. He acquired the New York Journal and competed relentlessly with Pulitzer’s New York World. He exaggerated his reporter’s headlines and created

misinformed and misleading stories to grab his readers’ attention and gain more profit. He also offered Outcault more money if he started working for his newspaper. So, the cartoonist went back and forth between the two papers and went with whoever would pay him more money. Ultimately, Hearst’s newspaper became more popular than Pulitzer’s in only a few years, but both men are credited with spawning this incredibly

influential, over-the-top reporting tactic.

Clickbait and fake news are basically the same thing and have their origins in “yellow” New York journalism. Who would’ve thought the name of a fictional cartoon character could coin an entire style of journalism? 4

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